On Saturday May, 4th my little brother, David, married the love his life, Rachel. Here is my toast to them ...
Photo: Maypole Studios
You know when you want something so bad you spend all your wishes on that one thing. All your birthday candle wishes. All your wish bone wishes. All your penny in a fountain wishes. Well, when I was five years old, that's how bad I wanted a brother.
David was my kindergarten wish come true.
No, no, no ... I promised myself that I would not resort to tales of David's notorious toddlerhood. After all, he's a man now. He's a lawyer! AND - to my utmost joy - He's found a smart, beautiful, incredibly organized woman to marry him.
So you see, there's no need for me to regale you with details of how he bit the babysitter. Oh sorry, let me clarify, the babysitterS. For he bit them all.
No, tonight is not the night, for me to tell you about the time David, steeped in his imaginary play, pretending to be a dog, LICKED the arm of the terribly strict, Austrian man who lived across the street and had come to our home for dinner, which my mother had prepared for him in an effort to ease his stress after his house had caught fire. Yup - David thought it would be a great idea to lick that man's arm right after the salad plates had been served. Just, ya know, lick 'em, from wrist to elbow. I still remember what my mother's face looked like in that moment.
But you see, now that Baby Baby is a tall, grown, man ... oh - see there I go sharing embarrassing nick names with all you lovely people that see my brother as the scholar and outdoors-man he's grown to be. Awww, little Baby Baby. You're such a big boy now, it's hard to even remember the time I caught you peeing in the backyard. In the winter.
Speaking of nick names, over the years David really has had his fair share. Baby Baby was a name David gave himself when he was first learning to speak. But my father used to be famous for his creation of nick names. In fact, I know most of my brother's friends at one time or another in their youth, on one sports field or another, were gifted a ridiculous name by my father. But he reserved the best names for my brother. Bubba came first. David was so fat as a baby, Bubba just kind of made sense. And so it stuck, until David became Milton the Spillton after one too many juice spills. Or often, in public, just Milton. Often at restaurants, my dad would greet the host with something like, "Yes, we'd like a table for 4, just for me, my wife, my daughter, and my son Bartholomew. Or some nights Melvin. Or he'd just go balls to the wall and introduce my brother as Schmendrick.
So you see, it wasn't surprising that my brother developed a knack for creating nick names as well. When David was first learning to speak, he had a hard time with the letter S. So, he dubbed his buddy Sam, a short, chubby toddler, Ham. And Sandy was hard for David too. So I, was called "Honey" for a short, sweet time. But perhaps the best "nick name" David ever gave to someone, was when he was about 5 years old.
We had just moved to our new house. That's about the only detail you need to know about this story. We were new on the block and my parents, being friendly, sociable people were doing their best to make nice friends and be neighborly. My brother was monkeying around in the front yard. I don't remember really what he was doing, but whatever it was, it was nuisance enough that, while my mom was inside slicing cucumbers, a neighbor scolded my brother. What happened next remains a bit of a blur, but suffice it to say, what I really remember was the sound of the knife dropping in a pile of cucumbers, when I, in all my tattle-tale glory, ran into the kitchen and announced - "Mom, David just called the neighbor lady Vagina Breath."
I mean could a kid put together a worse insult? It was as if David had been born to test my mother's innate sense of etiquette and propriety.
So, you can understand, how if you'd told us twenty five years ago, that one day a woman as classy, and well mannered, and put together as Rachel is, would fall for my babysitter biting, foul mouthed little brother, we would have doubted you.
And yet, I grew up wearing my "big sister" bedazzled sweatshirts with pride. Because, David always remained my very first wish come true.
And thank goodness it did. I thought I wanted a brother when I was five. Now, I know, I really needed one. Life, as we all know, is not always fountain wishes and silly nick names. David and I learned that reality in our youth. And yet, despite the challenges that our family has faced over the last 20 years, it is the silliness, the laughter, the afternoons of puppet shows and playing pretend, the hours spent with a basketball playing HORSE in the driveway, and finding each other for Shabbat dinners at summer camp ... it is those moments that make David my Baby Baby.
David is the smartest person I know. Besides, perhaps for my own two sons. (C'mon I'm a Jewish Mother, what do you want from me). His compassion has guided his life's work, as daily he struggles to help those less fortunate than he. He cherishes nature, and his friends, and his dog. He is opinionated, yes, but he lives his life by his beliefs. Which not many people are able to do. I admire him deeply. AND NOW ... he's managed to get me a sister.
I mean ... could this story get any better?!
Rachel is the kind of girl who I know in my heart of hearts, never ever ever, has called anyone Vagina Breath.
My brother is the happiest I've ever seen him. The calmest I've ever known him. His flowery blue eyes, flower more since being with Rachel. She has grounded him. And it has been a privilege to watch it happen.
Amongst David's many adventures, he spent some time in Greece. And fittingly it is The Greek Myth of Zeus that reminds me of David and Rachel. The tale of Zeus details how in a fit of rage at human kind, Zeus sends down lightning bolts that separated, once whole humans, into two halves. Women and Men. And with dramatic, wicked laughter, Zeus left mankind and woman-kind to figure it out. They were left to roam the earth and find their other half.
Leave it to two of the brightest people I know, to out-smart Zeus. Well done, David & Rachel.
So I raise my glass, to my brother, my childhood wish come true, and his bride, my sister-in-law, a wish I never knew I had.
I wish that all your wishes come true.