A card I illustrated for a sleepy friend with narcolepsy. Inside: Celebrate hard because you know you can sleep it off.
Mother’s Day Card 2016.
Here follows the speech I made as Maid of Honour at my brother’s wedding. Please note my brother’s name is Alex but he has had the long time nickname of ‘Allen’ so it switches back and forth.
Hi my name is Bridget. I’ve known Tiane for a couple of years now. Alex and I met in 1989 and he’s been like a brother to me ever since. Tiane, you are a vision tonight. Allen, looking Elephant Fresh.
I know I’m supposed to welcome Tiane into the family tonight but for better or worse she’s been one of us for years now. For the longest time it’s felt only natural to refer to her as my sister. Which made it kind of awkward when I absentmindedly told a colleague a work that I was going to my “brother and sister’s” wedding.
Bear with me, I’m pretty nervous. As some of you might know I’m a bit of an introvert. I don’t like many people, probably only like 15-20% of you here if I’m honest… I kid, I kid, we’re all family now. I wouldn’t jeopardise my place in your wills like that. The point I’m trying to make is that I don’t like many people but I like Tiane. I knew we were going to be friends right from the very beginning. She was a better girlfriend than our family ever could have dreamed for Alex. We were actually kind of nervous he’d screw it up early on. I feared she’d see a picture of him from his bodybuilding days, glistening with fake tan and oil, or she’d find out he had a bad habit of tearing the crotch of his pants at inopportune moments or even worse yet, he would roll over one night and squish her like the adorable little lady beetle that she is.
But they must have figured out some kind of pillow barrier situation or something because she stuck around and we all fell in love with her. I say that “we” fell in love with her because it’s impossible to describe their relationship without mentioning the effect it has on those around them. Their love is inclusive and vibrant, never jealous or conditional. These two are so much fun when they’re together and as a constant third wheel I’ve been given the chance to see my brother’s best qualities enhanced and his challenges conquered with love and understanding. My brother has always been the smart one in the family but never has that been more evident than the day he decided to marry Tiane. I never thought I would ramble about love like this but you guys, this is the real deal. One time I found them napping on the couch together and they’d fallen asleep holding hands. Once at a family party I discovered they’d slipped away quietly and were slow dancing in the living room. That is some Disney shit!
Now I’d like to tell you about my favourite thing that has ever happened. Which is the time Alex got stung by a wasp and his face swelled up like the elephant man. There’s a special and enthusiastic kind of schadenfreude reserved for little sisters when their older siblings get hurt and I will never not laugh when I think of his puffy, wasp stung face. I mostly just wanted to relive that moment but I promise this story is also relevant today. You see, the wasp-face saga happened to take place the same week Tiane graduated from uni. But instead of hiding out from society like the hideous beast that he was, my brother put on a suit and popped along to her graduation. We have pictures of him standing proudly next to Tiane, her in her cap and robe, him beaming and squinting through a half-closed eye. This also happened to be the first time Alex had met a lot of Tiane’s uni friends but she still happily introduced Wasp Face to her pals. Their reactions are partly due to my brother having no shame but it’s mostly a reflection of the deep love, commitment and pride they have for each other. It’s a beautiful thing to know your partner is always going to show up for you and equally that they’re always going to love you, even if you’re hideously disfigured by wasps.
My brother has spent a lot of my life explaining the mysteries of the world to me. When we were little he was the one who showed me that if you poured the washing liquid down the laundry sink a cloud of bubbles would rise from the drain outside. We would run around, laughing like maniacs as the bubbles rained down. When I was a teenager Alex was the one to help me with my maths homework. I failed maths but he really tried. And recently as alleged grown-ups I asked Alex how you “know” you’re with the right person. He told me that sometimes you’ll find someone that’s a blast to go to a party with but you could never imagine having to wait in a queue with them. He said that whatever the activity or situation, it was always better when Tiane was with him. I told you my brother was the smart one in the family.
Tiane, you’re hilarious, you’re refreshingly honest, you have all these secret talents, like being able to whip up a Care Bear costume at short notice and you always stand up for what you believe in. You have made my brother incredibly happy and if Alex turns out to be half as good a husband as he has been a brother then you have a wonderful life ahead of you.
I’d like to finish with some advice from Alex’s favourite Greek philosopher, Homer… Simpson; “Be generous in the bedroom. Share your sandwich.”
To the bride and groom, I hope you love each other as long as Snape loved Lily Potter, which is to say, always.