One of the things that has been the hardest for me during this wedding-planning journey hasn't necessarily been figuring out the guest list, or choosing the caterer or even finding a wedding dress. Instead, the one thing that I keep thinking about is how to carve a place for my sister on my important day.
For those of you who don't know, my sister is a beautiful, happy, 21-year-old. She lives at home with my parents, is in school, and loves watching movies and sleeping. But she has Angelman's Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder on the autistic spectrum, and basically what this means is that she functions more like a three-year-old, and has a hard time with even the most basic communication. She is, and always will be my one conundrum: my intricate riddle, my question that has no answer. While she is often the topic of many of my creative nonfiction essays, like this post's excerpt, I know that no matter how much exploring I do, I'll never be able to figure her, or our relationship, out.
It seems that, lately, it's most common for brides and grooms to choose their siblings as their maid of honor or best man. And I love that. Family members are built-in friends, and people that will always be there, so why not give them important positions on the important wedding day? I struggled for a long time trying to decide what my sister's role would be in my wedding. I knew that I wanted her to stand up for me--yet, for her, to stand up for a long period of time is about as easy as it is for a three-year-old to sit still. And, quite frankly, I worried about her being in front of a group of people... would those who didn't know her stare? would she interrupt the service with one of her favorite phrases, don't argue with me?
And so, I decided that she would, indeed, stand up, but while sitting next to my parents. And I made an even bigger decision, too. I had been constantly wishing that I could have a sister who could be my maid of honor, and after talking to my fiance about it, he said to me, "Then have your sister as your maid of honor. We can figure out the toasts and all that later." And it was as easy as that. Simply because Paige can't throw me a bachelorette party, or give an eloquent speech before dinner doesn't mean that I can't still give her the title that I want her to have.
This morning, as I was sitting with her on the couch, waiting to put her on the bus for school, she was singing along to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and bobbing her head back and forth to the music. Just seeing how happy she always is was a reminder that I had made a good choice. She will probably do so much more for me than most maids of honor--in her good personality and patient joy, I'm sure that she will remind me to simply be happy on the big day, like she always is.