On Sunday, Little S got married (I guess she’s not so little any more!)  Since I was the matron of honor, I gave one of the toasts of the evening.  I really liked it a lot, so I thought I’d share it with you guys as well.

First of all, I would like to say congratulations to the happy couple – Little S and JT.  From the day you met, you could see that you two had something that you can only find in fairy tales.  I am so proud to be here today, taking part in your happiest day.  And I also want to thank you for giving me a moment to share some of your stories with all of your friends, family and loved ones.

On December 25th, 1985, my life drastically changed.  At that moment in time, I was not a happy camper.  It was Christmas Day and I was living an idyllic life with my parents as the only apple in their eye.  Oma and Opa were in town and we had just celebrated Christmas as a family.  As a three-year-old, I didn’t comprehend what it meant when my parents hurriedly grabbed bags and disappeared from the house for hours.  The next day, Dad picked us up to meet the new addition to the family.  I remember it like it was yesterday – here were my proud parents holding their new bundle of joy.  Their eyes and faces were lit up with pure happiness when they introduced me to Little S.  My eyes on the other hand were dull with boredom as I had been waiting for hours for my “special” Christmas present. I looked down at my new sister for a second and turned to them and said, “That’s great. Can we go home now?”  Our first meeting was a little rough, but as the years progressed, I realized that my sister and best friend, Little S, was the best gift I could have ever gotten.

Being Army brats meant that we moved around a lot when we were younger, which I know helped strengthen our sisterly bond, especially when we moved to America from Germany in 1990.  When we were new in town, I always knew that I had a friend by my side.  Even after we finally got settled and started making our own friends, nothing changed between us.  We were still like peanut butter and jelly, our circle of friends blending just like it still does –  sometimes sweet, sometimes a little nutty, but forever stuck together.

As you all know, Little S is not one to sit still.  She always had to be doing something – whether it was bouncing the ball off the side of the house endlessly for hours, playing a mock softball game in the driveway (to this day I’m still surprised that no windows were ever broken…), or creating exciting new lives for our Barbies and building crayon roads in her bedroom for our Matchbox cars – she was ready for anything.  Her enthusiasm always ended up dragging me away from my 90210 marathons outside to the imaginary world waiting for us on the other side of the door.  Little S always did end up being much better entertainment than Tori Spelling ever could be.  And that is something that I will always thank her for.

Speaking of our younger years, Little S used to be quite the little tom boy.  My image of her as a child is of a small, freckle-faced girl in a Braves hat with a softball glove glued to her hand. Wait, that’s not much different than it is today, is it?  Anyway, she lived in that hat – Mom had to pry it off her head from time to time so we could actually see her face.  Now when I look at Little S, I see a beautiful mature woman, who occasionally still sports that glove.

It might be hard to see now, especially after she’s had a couple of beers, but Little S used to be so quiet and shy.  Luckily, I was there to be her mouthpiece until she found her own voice.  Now she is a sure-footed, strong woman, who knows want she wants and won’t quit until she achieves her goal.  That is always something I admired about her.  I get frustrated and tend to want to give up when something doesn’t go my way – Little S on the other hand will keep at it until she is successful.  Whether it was being a softball all-star or being the only girl on the snare drum line in marching band to finding the absolute perfect man for her to marry, Little S is one to set her eyes on the prize and get it.  Even though you are younger, I look up to you for your can-do spirit.  If you take that same attitude that you’ve always had, I know you will make a great wife to JT and a wonderful mother to your future quarter German, American, Chinese and eighth Thai and Laotian children.

Speaking of JT, I still remember when you called me after your first few weeks at your first job to tell me about the “cute boy that you worked with who was so nice and sweet and kept inviting you to office outings.”  The second I heard your voice, I knew that you had been bitten by the Love Bug.  Even though I couldn’t see your face, I knew you were smiling and your eyes were shining.  And when I met JT for the first time, I knew my predication was true and I could understand why.  When I was around you both, I saw a happiness that I had never seen in you before, and it made me smile.

I liked JT from the moment I met him, even though he is a Florida fan.  He is a person who exudes happiness.  He has a good heart and spirit and is someone you know you will have fun with.  And I knew he had staying power after I heard the story about your very first date.  Put together first date jitters, beers on an empty stomach, and a dinner consisting of a crepe filled with ham, cheese, and strawberry jelly (I still wonder what you were thinking when you made that selection…) and you end up with an unforgettable evening.  Since JT is a true gentleman, he walked you to your front door.  As you were standing there, trying to unlock it, you turned to him and said, “I think I’m going to be sick!”  I know JT had to feel slightly dejected since you’d had a great evening together, but he did the right thing and said, “If you don’t want me to come in, I can leave.”  As he was finishing his sentence, you shoved him out of the way to Ralph in the bushes.  Poor JT had no idea that was coming, but he was so worried about you that he stuck by your side for the rest of the evening – holding your hand and your hair.  That right there is how you know that you found “a keeper.”

On New Year’s Eve 2010, I pulled JT aside to chat.  After a few champagnes, I’d worked up the courage to tell him that I thought he was perfect for you and I could see the two of you together forever.  He fit right in with the family – he was the older brother I never had, and he was like a son to mom and dad.

Just imagine my happiness last August when JT pulled me aside to “talk to me.”  As we snuck away to chat in secret, he told me he was planning on proposing to you.  When he told me, it was all I could do to keep from screaming with joy for you two.  It was hard to keep my game face on for the rest of the evening when I knew the happy surprise waiting for you on your two year anniversary.   And by the way, I totally spilled the beans to everyone about five minutes after you walked out of the door.

And here we are today, a year and a little less than a month later.  You two have exchanged your vows and are now your own family.  And I couldn’t be happier.

You are my sister, and I will always be protective over you. No matter how old we are, I always feel the need to watch over you and stick up for you.  I know that feeling will never fade, but it’s nice to know that now you’ll have an extra set of eyes looking out for you for the rest of your life.  Today, I am officially passing the torch of being your guardian onto JT.

Little S and JT, I am so happy for the two of you!  I love you both so much and am glad that you found each other.  If I had known that fateful Christmas Day that my “special present” would be a gift that keeps on giving, and that not only would I have received a sister, but one day gain a brother, the look in my eyes would have been much more excited.

So let’s raise our glasses to the special couple and offer them a toast for a long life filled with continued happiness because their love is truly a gift.  Congratulations to my sister and my new brother!!!  Here’s to Little S and JT!!

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