A Toast to the Bride

The summer of 2016 was a summer to remember.  It was the year my baby sister Lauren got married.  I was her maid of honour and and I got the opportunity to toast her, and now I get the opportunity to share with you a glimpse into the life of the girl I adore and the woman I cherish and respect.  Here’s to Lauren!

For those of you who I haven’t met yet, my name is Layna and I am Lauren’s older sister.  It is my honour and pleasure to get to toast her this evening.

I am going to give you a brief history on our lovely bride.  Lauren Ruth was born on a sweltering August 2nd afternoon in 1989.  She was 2 weeks late and in no real rush to appear on the scene despite my efforts to coax her out, which were far kinder than the castor oil my mother tried to use.  Lauren had no trouble ignoring us but she was unable to defy the doctor’s induction, and at last I finally had the baby sister I had been dreaming of my whole life.  This would be surely be a sign of things to come – the little miss knew her own mind – and the pattern was established on the day of her birth.

Lauren has always been extremely determined.  As a little girl she dreamed of having her own puppy.  It took her 5 whole years of begging and pleading with mom and dad, before she realized this was not yielding her the desired outcome. So she pulled out the big guns and focused her attention on pulling on the heart strings of Grandpa Earl and Grandma Ruth.  Grandpa Earl took matters into his own hands and he dealt with my parents.  Weeks later we welcomed Max to the family.  And just like that, another pattern was established – if dad says no, ask Grandpa!

As a young girl Lauren decided she wanted to be a dancer.  And she took to it with the same determination she took to anything she set her mind to.  She practiced for hours on end and became a highly decorated dancer with medals in all disciplines.  She literally lit up a stage as soon as she hit the dance floor.  Her toothless grin could be seen from the back row.  She has always been the star of my heart and when she was dancing she was also the star of the show.

As she grew older, her determination shifted slightly and she focused her efforts on dodging Ms. Smook’s gym class and any other high school subject she thought she could reasonably get away with.

And the determination shifted slightly again when she was living in Lancaster, England doing a year of University abroad.  What she decided she wanted to do was to stay up partying till all hours, she wanted to enjoy her Batenburg cakes and she wanted none of us to be privy to any of it – so with the safety of an ocean between us, she promptly blocked all of us from her Facebook account after mother had commented on one too many photos of Lauren taken at 2am.

Lauren is also determined to win every argument.  I am not sure how many of you have had the opportunity to debate with Lauren.  If you have had the pleasure, you will know that when Lauren makes up her mind about something, she will not be moved.  No matter what the subject matter is, she has 1) thoroughly investigated it, 2) read a scientific study about, 3) seen empirical evidence of it and she is right…even if she isn’t!

Lauren goes to great lengths to convince you that she is tough – and she is – but the lesser known thing about her, and the one she likes to hide, is that Lauren can be quite the softie.  Two of the dearest people to Lauren are Grandma Ruth & Grandpa Earl.  It is a good thing Grandma shares well, because the first man to steal her heart was surely Grandpa Earl.  Grandpa Earl was a tough, no nonsense, farmer who was putty in the palm of Lauren’s tiny hand.  So it is no surprise that today she honours them and their marriage by wearing the rings Grandpa picked for Grandma Ruth, as Lauren marries the man she has given her heart to.

It is true that Lauren doesn’t feel overly sentimental about much, but it is equally as true that the things and people she does hold dear, she holds very dear.  They hold a special place in heart – one that is reserved for a select few.

Thankfully, Brock, Bryce and I are all a part of the reserved few.  And we take our “Sibling Time” seriously –  even my husband of 11 years had been asked to kindly sit sibling time out – after all, he isn’t our sibling.   Every summer Jeff and the children and I come out to Sidney and often us siblings will gather here for a weekend.   But last year, Lauren broke the code and brought Greg.  The fact that she actually agreed to let us meet him said a lot.  And then we met him and saw them together and that told the rest of the story.  I think somehow we all knew that from now on Sibling Time would forever be Lauren +1 and maybe even that our Summer Sibling Time this year may look a lot like this!

Lauren draws a line in the sand.  The line is clearly marked and you do NOT cross it.  It has always been this way.  But then she met Greg and he does what no one else has dared to do… he smudges it slightly.  Greg is a pretty laid back guy and he just goes with the flow for the most part but occasionally he has something he feels strongly about and then he will dig in his heels.

Prior to meeting Greg, Lauren was sure she didn’t want children, she was fairly certain that marriage was just a piece of paper that she didn’t necessarily need, and she was absolutely never changing her last name.

Then along came Greg and he also had some things he was fairly certain of.  He did want to get married, he absolutely wanted children and that was non negotiable and he wanted them all to share the Deane name.

Here we are gathered today to celebrate the marriage of Lauren and Gregory Deane!  So far Greg is 2 for 3 and I would be willing to put my money on Greg, and I expect there will be a baby Deane in the near future.  It appears Lauren has finally met her match!

Lauren, I know that you will take your determined spirit and pour your whole self into your marriage.

Greg you are the white to Lauren’s black – May you create many gorgeous shades of grey together. Making the world a more vibrant place with your unity.

You are the sweat pants and polo shirts to her matching high heels and handbags.  May you create a life together in style and comfort.

You are the supped up Subaru to her practical Honda CRV.  May your life take you on many wild, yet practical, adventures.

Laur you truly were the gift from heaven that I had been praying for, when you joined our family.  And you have made so many lives richer and so many friendships deeper each day since.  I know you are a strong independent woman and you could easily take on the world by yourself, but I am so glad you don’t have to.  I am glad that heaven has blessed us with another gift that we have been praying for.  Greg.  He will stand tall beside you when things are good, he will lovingly hold you in his arms when things are hard, he will challenge and grow you in new ways and he will always be your biggest cheerleader and supporter.  He will hold court in that tough but tender heart of yours, and make your life more full.  I am glad you have found your perfect compliment.

And so today, it is with great pleasure that I ask you to stand up, and raise your glass with me and toast this most beautiful bride.  To Lauren….

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