Friday, January 8, 2010

A Toast to Robert, on his Wedding Day.

Robert, for as long as I can remember, you have always had to take everything one step further.

In fact, this lifestyle of yours dates all the way back to the day of your birth.
You were not just born, but you made your grand entrance on Mom’s birthday.

And as you entered into those pre-school years, you were often on stage performing with the Wee-Woozles or Haymarket Baptist, and you’d be the one exaggerating all of the hand-motions and wailing your arms to the songs; all while the audience was ignoring their own children and in stitches over your personal performance.

Playing at home or Lake George where we spent every summer was no different. How many times did you insist on playing “who-could-scream-the-loudest”, or “who-could-walk-the-furthest-into-the-neighbor’s-with-the-scary-dog’s-yard”?

And how could I forget about “The Incredible Hulk Incident”? While shopping in Walmart one day, instead of just walking past that set of “Hulk” arms on display that you could slide your own arms into and instantly look strong, you had to try them out for yourself. You slid those babies on, approached the nearest innocent employee, flexed your arms out in front of you and let out a ferocious roar, loud enough to have shoppers stop dead in their tracks.

There was even that time when I was a senior in High School and you were in 7th grade. It was one of the few years in our lives that we happened to be at the same school at the same time. I remember sitting in Latin class and hearing you sneeze from the next classroom over. Your “choo” was so loud and exaggerated, it lasted about 20 seconds. And as I recall, you were dismissed from Mr. Flook’s class for the remainder of that day.

Yes, Robert, you have always taken everything one step further.

Which is why, when you came home one afternoon years ago, and told me that you had found someone special, someone who you really really liked and you wanted to know how to impress; and was it too soon to take her out?—someone who emulated Mother Mary and gave you that overwhelming desire to become more like St. Joseph—I waited. I waited for that one step further that you were going to take it. That’s when I heard:

“Oh yeah. Did I mention she is Alessandra’s best friend and roommate?”

All joking aside, I watched your relationship with Julia blossom. From the very beginning, you knew deep down inside that she was the woman who would become your wife. Her patience made you want to become a better man. Her gratitude has made you want to work hard to provide for her. Her love of children, especially her nieces and nephews, is preparing you to become a father when it’s time. Her perseverance in schooling has you wanting to persevere as well. And your mutual willingness to sacrifice for the other has brought you both to this point.

Robert, I want to take this opportunity to thank you. Thank you for your wonderful example of a true Christian man. You spent years serving the church with the altar boy robe on, and made it through Knighthood, the highest ranking of altar boys. Again, you did not just serve, but you took it a step further. The same applies to your current vocation. You knew you had to find a job and soon, if you were going to ask Julia to be your bride. So instead of submitting a resume to and waiting, you went straight to the army recruiting office and began a daily workout routine. You were accepted into the army and made a commitment to serve your country while providing for your wife. You took it one step further.

Thank you Robert, for the brother that you are to me. It is such an honor to be your sister. Words could never repay the unconditional love that you have shown to me over the past several years. You have taken your vocation of “brother” one step further. You’ve stood by me when I needed it the most. You’re there to console me when I’m sad, as well as there to celebrate when I’m happy. And Julia, you have been like a sister to both Jim and me from the moment when Robert first brought you home. It’s been like stepping inside of your own siblings’ shoes and experiencing what it’s like to have you as a sister. You have called Robert to be the person whom he has become. And from getting to know you over the past few years, you also, take your responsibility as God’s daughter one step further. You hold your family in the highest regard. You and Robert are a true example of Christ’s love for his church.

And finally, Robert, although they cannot be with us physically today, know how truly proud Grandma and Grandpop are of you. Pray for their intercession always, for we both know that their marriage was not only a great earthly example, but a heavenly gift from God to us to emulate.

In fact, if they were here today, I know that they’d both be taking credit for your inherited gene of taking everything one step further.

To Robert and Julia: cheers.

1 comment:

Julia said...

This made me cry all over again! It was such a beautiful toast, thank you.