A Wedding Toast for My Sister
(August 14, 2010)
There is nothing in life I take quite as seriously as my role of big sister
When my parents brought Ellen home from the hospital, I was certain she belonged to me. I carried her diaper bag without a hint of irony and on her second birthday (this is a true story) I remember sitting her down on the edge of the bathtub and telling her now that she was grown, together we would take on the world!
And so began our great adventure!
You see Ellen and I share everything. Not because we were told to…but because I figured out early on that when Ellen is involved everything is more fun.
Where most sisters share a room….we shared a bed. In the early days we would use the guard rail mom put up to keep her from falling out as plank between our two twins. I would hold it steady and she would crawl across the crocodile pit and we would spend the night playing with the Styrofoam curlers that lined her hair,wiggling each other’s loose teeth and telling the grandest of stories, like “If I Owned a Candy Factory.”
When it got too late…or our giggles too loud, mom would come up to check on us. With The sound of her ice water serving as alarm…El would scurry back to her bed, we’d pull our covers up just in time as mom came in and instructed us to “ROLL OVER. FACE THE WALL.”
As if not looking at each other would somehow keep El and I from talking.
It never did.
In Junior high, I moved into my own room. But Ellen was having no part of that…so every night she would drag her pillow down the hall and crawl into bed with me. And after Ellen went off to Vanderbilt…and sleeping together was no longer an option, we spent many nights lying in bed chatting on our cell. Those were good talks.
We share more than domestic memories of course….oh man, El and I had some epic adventures.
Every summer, the two of us headed off to camp Nicolet. It’s funny for the months we spent away, it never crossed my mind to be homesick- I had my sister what more did I need.
We were inseparable….except for that one time. El and I wandered into the woods for some sister bonding & berry picking. I had to head back to camp a little early because my cabin was on kitchen duty….but Ellen wasn’t ready to come in quite yet and promised she’d just be a few minutes behind. Well, when the lunch bell rang an El was nowhere to be seen, I panicked. After what felt like an eternity, she came running into the dining hall, bright red, dirty knees just bawling ….she had gotten herself good and lost, but as she always manages to do…..my scrappy little sister ran and ran…found her way out of trouble
And speaking of trouble. How about that night Cancun. Not enough time has passed. Next subject.
Ellen and I shared a bone structure and big eyes that made my bequeathing of a certain piece of identification wildly successful….it also made for frequent inquiries if we were twins. Our standard reply:
“No, triplets….Emily, Ellen and Erin. Third sister is at home. Leg cast. Volleyball accident.” Wha?
Then again, I suppose the whole dressing alike business didn’t exactly help the twin questioning
Ellen and I didn’t just share clothes we shared outfits. And not just when we were kids and mom decked us out in matching hair bows and Gretel dresses….I’m talking in our 20’s when we decided bring back matching …only we rebranded it as coordinating which somehow felt totally more acceptable.
My favorite of all our coordinating looks, New Years Eve 01 (You know where I am going with this):
Metallic Glitter backless tops, Enormous Hoop Earring, Head to Toe Body Glitter, Tight White pants….(and you cannot imagine the state of those pants at the end of the night! I have photos.)
Ellie, I loved every memory I shared with you:
- How we wore out the videos of Little Spies, Lost in London, David Copperfield and Biodome
- How we trained for the marathon side by side…and even though you smoked me in the race, yours was the face I was looking for at the finish line
- How your great talents include kindest human alive, Funniest girl in the room and wheel of fortune wiz kid.
- How we know what it means when one of us say “I will be your best friend’
- And how when I needed you this year, I came home to find you sitting on my couch.
I shared my life with my sister.
And then I met Simon and I fell in love. And more than anything in the world….. All I wanted was to share that feeling with Ellie.
Ellen, I wanted you to find a man who not only loved you but really liked you. I wanted you to know the comfort of someone you could count and lean on. I wanted to see you laugh; cared for, celebrated and adored…I wanted to see you happy.
I look at you and Dan today and I feel so proud…and so grateful because I know you found where you belong. You found love.
Dan, I couldn’t ask for a better brother. Between your bromance with Simon to your infections laugh the way you bear hug me every time I come over….you are awesome.
At our wedding Ellen toasted us and said that she would forever be my sister, but now Simon is my partner…and tonight I say that back to her, with one caveat:
El, Dan is your partner, and Simon & I, along with every person in this room….we are your team. You future together is so bright but there will be days were it’s gonna rain on your head…but know, We will be there holding your umbrella (ella) (ella)
The Adventures we have shared have been the greatest of my life, but little sister….new brother…hold onto your hats because they are nothing compared to the joys and kids and new homes and dinner parties and little league games and carpools and holidays…the life that we have to look forward to!
I love you! I love you! I love everything about you!
A toast to Mr. and Mrs. Dan [Redacted]!