Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Proud Brother, a Beaming Bride

I don't know how many times in my life I've really felt proud, full of that warm, tingly sensation in my chest that makes me just want to hug everyone in sight. Watching my mother become a U.S. citizen was certainly one instance. But as happy as I was for my mother that day, I still held some bitterness over the incompetent bureaucracy that kept her from getting there for so long. It just never should've been that difficult.

Maybe the first time I truly felt joyful without a hint of cynicism or resentment was last Saturday, when I walked my sister down the aisle on her wedding day.

I'm not sure I'll ever feel so proud, yet humble again. Actually, I kind of hope I never do, because what could possibly match this? Maybe if I ever have children, I'll find something to surpass this moment. It should've been her father - our father - taking her by the arm to the front of the church.

Did Lil' Sis and I walk down that aisle? It felt like we were on a conveyor belt. And I think it took every bit of discipline I had not to constantly turn my head from side to side, to thank all in attendance for sharing this moment with our families, to enjoy how everyone was looking so admiringly at the bride-to-be. I can't even imagine what she was feeling, what was going through her mind as she saw everybody stand up to greet her entrance, as she saw her husband-to-be, Brian, waiting at the altar.

Maybe this goes without saying, but it was an amazing day. Brian has a wonderful family, and to have them embrace Nicole, along with me and my mother, so openly and warmly was just overwhelming. We also had an unbelievable surprise when our uncle and aunt from California showed up unexpectedly. Technically, I suppose that made them wedding crashers, which makes it all the more hilarious. I couldn't even speak for a few minutes when I saw them, and my mother was moved to tears. I don't think I can properly express how grateful we are to them for making that trip.

The photo above was taken by a friend in attendance. The professional wedding images are now available at the photographer's website. I knew Jill Higgins did great work, but it just seems a little more fantastic when my sister is in the pictures. To have such memorable photos as a record of an unforgettable day is a privilege. So was being a part of a wonderful weekend.