My sister got engaged this week. It doesn’t feel real, maybe it’s because she’s clear across the country and I didn’t get a chance to be there to celebrate with her. Mostly I think it’s because I’m not sure how to get my head around the idea that my little sister is going to be a wife. I’m also afraid this is going to change everything.
I’m really close to my siblings. Growing up our parents always encouraged us to be a team. I can still hear my mom saying “Even if you don’t have anybody else in the world you’ll always have your brother and sister.” Familial relationships are of course more complicated than that but I’ve operated under this instruction for pretty much my whole life. It only occurs to me now that I might have thought it would always be like this; me, Julie and Jr against the world. Now I find myself adjusting expectations.
I’m probably wrong of course. My defensive pessimism always gets me a bit moody and acts as a little rain cloud on happy occasions. I remember talking to Julie’s now fiance about the idea of them getting married. I specifically remember saying “Please don’t take my sister away from us” as if we would never see her again after they exchanged vows. I know that’s dumb headed.
Wade has proven himself to be a good and honest man who really loves my sister. He knows how important we are to one another. In a way he’s been trying out for our little team for quite a while. He’s been in California for the past year or so, I think he worked it so he could finally be in the same place as Julie but also to get to know my family a little better. Last summer he accompanied us on a family trip to Maine. The whole clan stopped in New York for a few days to check out the city before we made our way north. We spent about a week together on one of our usual whirlwind vacations touring New York, Maine and Boston. It was evident to me on that trip that Wade had been spending a lot of time with my family. He was at ease with my parents and my brother in a way that I haven’t really seen in any other significant other that has been introduced into the fold. It was also evident to me how happy my sister was with him and that he was very different from the others that my sister has dated. I am the naysayer in my family (surprise, surprise) when it comes to significant others. I’m pretty vocal when I have reservations about someone. Any doubts I may have had about Wade were squashed after that trip. I knew their engagement was imminent.
Now here we are. Julie with a ring on her finger and a wedding to come. I’m genuinely happy for them both. They managed to work through some pretty major obstacles (distance, deployment, etc.) and it feels right that it has come to this. Even though I tend to be curmudgeonly, I am a sucker for a love story and a wedding. It will likely change things, but I know it’s going to be fine. I’ll still always have my sister. Now I get a new brother and another addition to our team.