…to the best of my memory, my wedding toast for Gretchen and Dan. (The best man had his entire speech written out beforehand… I knew exactly one word that I would use, up to literally the minute I started to speak: “family.” It seemed to come out OK anyway.)
I’ve been thinking a lot about family lately. About how the meaning of the word evolves over time. When you’re a kid, family is who you’re stuck with: the people you live with or see during the holidays. There’s a black sheep here and there, or, in the case of my family, sometimes it’s pretty much all black sheep. Family is who you’re stuck with, and you do the best you can with what you’re given.
Then, when you get older, you get to start choosing your family. If you’re lucky, you’re given the opportunity to choose well and start to build more family on your own. I was lucky, and so I’m here with my husband and my three beautiful children.
Sometimes, you realize that the cosmic wires somehow got crossed, because you meet someone who obviously should be family, but somehow didn’t start out that way. This was the case for me, when I met Gretchen. It didn’t take long for me to realize that here was someone special… here was family.
Now, I’m very protective of my family. Whether it’s my children or really any family member, I tend to go all Mama Bear for them: My family is pretty special, and they deserve the very best. So when I heard about this Dan guy that Gretchen was spending time with – OK, actually, she was already living with him at the time – I was skeptical. He would have to be a pretty amazing guy to deserve her.
Turns out, Gretchen’s judgment is pretty good. He makes her happy. They support and respect each other, and I can’t think of a better foundation for a new family to build on. I’m so, so grateful to be here today, to be able to be a part of it as they become family to each other. Congratulations, again, and I love you both.