Monday, October 21, 2013

Matty Patrick.

Last weekend, my older cousin Matt got married and it was one of the most beautiful, most fun, and most heart-warming experiences I’ve had thus far in life.

It has been a long journey for him, my Matty Pat. Family drama has pulled at him from all sides since childhood and, out of three siblings, he was the most successful in his survival. He knew when to get out, when to reach for other hands, when to make grown-up decisions in a teenager’s shoes.

In our family, the cousins are more like siblings. Or at least, most of them are. [Insert long story about family drama here.] There are five of us – me and my brother, Lyndsay and hers, and Matt – and as we’ve grown up, it’s as though we’ve come to resemble each other more and more. There are roots that run deep, attributed to the early passing of our grandparents, which only served to bring us closer together.

His bride-to-be, Amy, is a dream. She’s boisterous and fun, fitting in effortlessly with the unique dynamic my family has, joining in the random dance parties and the late night heart-to-heart discussions. After the first family gathering she attended, we all fell in love.

Amy also has cystic fibrosis, the disease that almost took my friend Emily. I am blown away by Matt – although I understand it’s love and love conquers all things – because he’s starting his life with someone who might be taken away from him far too soon, after essentially having part of his family slip through his fingers. I stand in awe of him. He is the strongest person I know and probably will ever know.

That’s why, when he stepped out onto his late father’s back deck, in a suit and Converse sneakers, I cried. I kept crying as he watched his bride make her entrance, as they said their vows, as he pulled a leaf out of her hair, and as she nearly leapt into his arms to kiss her new husband. It was an emotional moment for everyone – my family especially – but I was borderline sobbing.

Part of it was pride. Beaming, limitless pride and happiness that this boy was now this man who was marrying his soulmate.

Could we be any cuter? Answer: no.
(I'm the one who looks like a china doll. Matt's that goofball behind me. My brother's in the plaid overalls and is already tired of me.) 

The other part, however, was the realization that Matt has become my role model. Being the oldest of two siblings and the first of seven cousins on my mom’s side of the family, I don’t have many people older than me to look up to. When we were growing up, we were all just kids, goofing around and not taking each other seriously. Now that we’re adults, I’ve watched Matt grow into the kind of person I can only hope to be.

The reception was beyond what I could've anticipated – Pinterest ideas come to life, tons of delicious food, an open bar with limitless Malibu Bay Breezes. I watched my cousin, as a notorious non-dancer, indulge his bride by joining in on the dance floor (after a bit of liquid courage, of course). It was one of those times where I took a mental snapshot that I've been replaying over and over in my head, in the hopes that I will never forget how it felt in that moment.