most of us knew it was gonna happen; ’twas a long time a’comin.
liz had even told me as much in the spring; they hoped to get engaged by the end of this year and get married next year. and we were sitting in a bar/lounge somewhere in the lower east side after her birthday dinner when she asked me to be one of her bridesmaids. euge checked my spirited consent (as i’d never been a part of a bridal party before) with a cheeky reminder that he hadn’t actually proposed.
a few months later, and accompanied by our second cousins (the elder sister designs jewelry and the younger sister got married easter weekend), my brother bought the ring. being his sister meant that my eyes were among the first to drink in the precious: a yellow gold ring with french set diamonds and an oval cut ruby in the center with an oval halo of diamonds.
some weeks post-purchase, euge and liz vacationed in montreal. another perk of being the groom’s sister: early access to intel; he had asked what i’d be doing the evening of september 26th, as that was when he’d hoped to gather friends for an engagement party.
the email he sent informing us of his intent to propose whilst on vacation, therefore, didn’t surprise me:
As some of you know, Liz and I are going on a trip to Montreal from Monday (9/23) to Thursday (9/26). What Liz doesn’t know is that I am going to propose to her on the trip, and she is going to say yes, So what I would like from all of you is to join us for drinks and celebration!
P.S. A really good way to get uninvited to the wedding is to spoil the surprise somehow. So SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!.
despite being very well-apprised of everything, i was no less delighted than everyone else when photos of liz wearing the ring popped up on my Facebook news feed. we gathered at a bar in midtown west and i beamed with pride when i introduced myself to unfamiliar faces as euge’s sister — yes, his older sister, i’d add.
and now that he put a ring on it, wedding planning was well under way, details quickly falling into place. a couple weeks after getting engaged, they’d already set a date and paid a deposit on a venue.
as a member of the bridal party, i got to watch my future sister-in-law model some of the beautiful white and ivory gowns. it didn’t take very long for her to say yes to the dress. liz cried as soon as the consultant gathered her hair in an ad hoc up-do, to help her imagine how she might look dolled up, then my eyes suddenly got a little sweaty, too. later that day, our parents and her parents met over a sushi buffet dinner and korean bakery dessert.
it was then the bridesmaids’ turn to try on some dresses. i may be a rookie bridesmaid, but i’ve watched enough shows on lifetime and tlc to learn how not to do it. also, 27 dresses helped set my expectations low. when liz shared her preferences for our wardrobe, i was relieved that there was no mention of burlap or magenta.
trying on our dresses was a bit trickier, of course, ’cause reaching consensus with one person is far easier than with two of more people. liz, ever so thoughtful, invited feedback, but i would’ve welcomed more dictatorial rather than democratic decision-making.
after all, the bride and the groom are the stars of the wedding.
the wedding website and save-the-date video (which, surprise, i got a sneak peek of) have been published. email threads concerning bachelorette party and bridal shower have unspooled. yes, i must admit, the euphoria is fading, as the day of fast approaches.
but gradually so. i’m still very much excited that i get to call liz my sister. i’m very grateful that liz and i became friends, even before she and my brother became an item.
perhaps i’ve subconsciously chosen to focus more on the fact that i’m gaining a sister rather than losing my brother. i’m an optimist at heart, so the latter perspective doesn’t suit my m.o. and i’m mostly likely trying to convince myself that if i don’t think about and process how this marriage will change my relationship with my brother, i will magically bypass the grief of this loss/transition.
the two of them are becoming a family unto their own. as far as i know, i’ll become an aunt before i become a mother, and that makes me super excited. is it healthy that i’m far more keen on meeting my nieces/nephews before bearing daughters/sons of my own (if i get to, that is)?
but seriously. i’ve been asked how i feel about my younger brother being the first among the grandkids/cousins to be getting married. and i’m totally okay with it (see above paragraph re: niece/nephew). my brother and i are both self-confessed late bloomers, so i’m really glad that his getting married is taking some of the pressure off of me, or at least is a bit of a diversion. or… maybe not, judging from the increasing frequency of my dad asking me when i’m going to get married.
anyway. i may be older but
a) i’m only 1.5 years older
b) my going on the world race leveled whatever privilege i enjoyed as the firstborn
c) with his full-time job, engagement and upcoming wedding, he has surpassed and clinched “most favored child” status.
i already look much younger than him (see earlier paragraph), and soon enough, it will be harder for new acquaintances to believe that i am actually older. historically, euge was the black sheep; now, we’ve swapped spaces, and until i get into law school/get married, my fleece will turn into darker shades of gray.
but truly, all that has been a blip on my mental radar. the joy and anticipation i feel for my brother, the bridegroom, far surpass any iota of self-pity that i’m not even tempted to feel for myself. the happiness has successfully crowded out that junk.
i feel like i finally understand what Jesus and john the baptist meant when they likened themselves as the bridegroom and friend thereof, respectively.
Guests at the wedding can’t fast when the bridegroom is with them. It would be wrong to do anything but feast. When the bridegroom is snatched away from them, then the time will come to fast and mourn.
mark 2:19-20 (the voice)
I am only here to prepare the way for him. It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and [his sister] is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success.
john 3:28-30 (nlt, just a wee bit modified)
so no matter how you slice it, i’m just so happy for my brother. i’m too busy being happy for my brother and my friend to wonder, “when will it be my turn?” #aintnobodygottimeforthat #exceptformyparents #whyamiusinghashtagsinablogpost
and i’m pretty psyched that i may or may not have a biblical excuse to procrastinate grieving / distracting myself with bridesmaid duties. speaking of which… anyone live/work in a nice building in manhattan with a community room that would accommodate 25 people?
and i guess those of you who follow me on the instagramz will now understand why a disproportionate amount of my #tbt posts feature my brother. also, you could consider the retrospective series a poor substitute for a slideshow at the wedding. you’re welcome.