A few months ago, my brother called me and told me he was thinking about proposing to his longtime girlfriend. No plans yet, but something that he was thinking about, and after nine years together, he felt it was the right time. Most importantly, he was ready. They were ready.
The Sunday night he called me, I was at an outdoor patio with Scott, having a drink having just completed an art class. I don’t know if I thought about anything else for 24 hours straight.
A while later, Matt mentioned that it’d be nice to have a party afterward, where her family would be invited, and ours too, and it would be a time to celebrate and pop some champagne and toast the new bride-and-groom-to-be, and obviously, I jumped on the chance, telling Matt that I love to host parties and could easily do it since he was thinking of asking in Chicago.
And of course that’s true… I do love to entertain. But that’s really just a footnote.
The real reason – I love my brother. Matt is 25 months younger than me, but in many (all?) ways I look up to him. He is smart and well-read, which means he can hold his own in any conversation. He is outgoing and interesting, and can talk to anybody, anywhere. And he is charming as hell… I’ve never met someone who doesn’t like Matt. (I’d like to think he got the “charming” thing from his big sis, but… uhhhh no). I have always felt close to my brother, and even more so over the past three plus years that we’ve shared Chicago. He is a truly good brother, and man.
When Matt was figuring out the logistics of the perfect proposal, we had a random phone call about some detail. After we hung up, he texted me a reminder that no one knew his plans yet, except the parents and me. And I wrote back “secrets safe with me” and he wrote back “I know”. Those two words were so profound to me… and I’d never felt closer to Matt, or, frankly, more trusted in my entire life. Knowing his plan – and having a small role – was both a joy and an honor in my life.
All of this as a prologue to say… Kelly. Where can I even start? Kelly has been an unofficial part of our family for almost nine years, and I am beyond thrilled that it’s now official. I first met Kelly somewhere in the early 2000s, during our shared time at Xavier High School, and while I don’t recall the first time we met, there’s something poetic and fitting about that… it’s almost like she’s always been around, because she fits so perfectly in to our family.
There was never any doubt in my mind that Kelly would say “yes”. And not because Kelly isn’t a hot catch (believe me, she is!) but because Matt and Kelly belong together, and that is obviously to those that know and love them. Kelly has been a part of so many of my life experiences and memories… like the time that she picked me up at 2am from an Iowa City FAC turned all night ragefest after a particularly challenging breakup. Or, something a little less embarrassing, like the support she gave me during my engagement and on my wedding day. Helping to ring in the 2011 New Year. Our first wedding anniversary. Birthdays, holidays, trips to the Field of Dreams and Minneapolis and bachelorette parties and weddings and anniversaries and pool parties and countless trips to Cedar Rapids and everything in between.
Matt is lucky to have you; we are lucky to have you. Thank you for making my brother so happy.
Welcome to the family, Kelly.
Side note: I was writing this post, and the song “Our Song” by Ron Pope cycled on my iPod. It’s a little uncanny how appropriate the lyrics are so…
Suggested listening: “Our Song” by Ron Pope
so won’t you take my hand,
and take my heart,
promise to never stop dancing, once we start