You could tell the job meant a lot to Erin and Haley -- they were so worried the whole weekend about doing things just right. Their joy for Lauren was palpable. Yet, you could sense an undertone of loss at knowing a new chapter of life was beginning for their family. This is one emotion you don't necessarily expect on a wedding day.
On the nine-hour ride home, I thought about my sisters. Especially Emma, who is closest to me in age. On my wedding morning, after the dress was zipped, I stood to study my figure in a long mirror. Mom, Emma, and Anna watched and smiled. Then Emma erupted into tears.
"I don't want you to get married!" she said. We hugged and I told her: nothing about how much we care for each other will change because I am a wife.
Later in the evening, in her toast, she made us laugh and then surprised me with something so poignant. She read from a letter I wrote to her when she left for college. The letter was about taking risks and making hard choices, about really living life but remaining authentic to your true person. And, the letter reminded its reader of the safety net of family that will always be around.
Aside from the fact that she saved that letter for so many years (she's now 25), I was moved. I was so touched that along with the greatest joy a person can feel she, too, felt a hint of fear for me at the unknown of married life. That kind of empathy is something that, perhaps, only a sibling can experience.
Thanks, Emma, for your honesty and your empathy.