Thursday, September 20, 2007

So, I gave a speech

A couple of months ago, I wrote this entry:

I was quite a nervous wreck over giving a speech at my sister's wedding.

Part of the reason WHY I was such a nervous wreck was the fact that my sister told me that she KNEW my speech would be clever and funny and great. This put pressure on me.



It took me about eight minutes to actually WRITE this speech, but once it was written, I reread it about 90 times and had several people go over it.

(I gave the most amount of power to my two cousins, Jenny and Kelly, who obviously know me and my sister and our family and would know what would work. They both told me that the speech made them cry just by reading it, so I took it to mean that it was good enough.)

Now, I feel I failed as a maid-of-honor in some ways. I didn't help plan the bachelorette party AT ALL (nor was I even drunk at the occasion), and my mom took over for the shower. (She really WANTED to, though...)

During the ceremony, I was never sure when I was supposed to be messing with my sister's train and when I wasn't supposed to, and when I sat down at mass, the heel of my fancy gold shoes got caught in the lining of my dress. The bridesmaids in the front row heard the loud "RIP!!!!!!!!!"

However, I think I DID come through as a good Maid-of-Honor when I said my speech.

I have always been a pretty knock-out public speaker. I know how bad that sounds, but I always have been. I had to take a Communications Law class (or something) in college, and we had to do mock trials. My teacher told me what an excellent public speaker I was and asked if I had considered being a lawyer.

("No," I replied. "But I HAVE considered...THE STAGE!")

I gave my made people laugh and cry, most of all my sister and new brother-in-law, and those were the two people that mattered the most.

When my new brother-in-law hugged me, he said, "That was the best speech EVER!" and for the rest of the night, I kept hearing the words:

"best speech EVER" (once again)
"Diana, why the heck aren't you pursuing a life on stage?"

(The best man's dad even told me I made his son's speech look bad...which wasn't true at all. His speech was lovely.)

After a paragraph about my dad, I figured I had to crack a joke, so I announced that I was going to sing a song I had written for the occasion. The people who knew me cracked up. The people who DIDN'T know me, nodded earnestly, most likely thinking, "Wow, she's given that speech and now she's written a SONG! What a thoughtful sister Andrea has!"

My sister finally said to her guests through giggles, "SHE ISN'T REALLY GOING TO SING!"

I am quite proud and honored to have played a special role in my sister's day...

Whenever I had to give a speech in class, I would never even think about it until about ten minutes before I had to do it, but somehow I always managed to pull it off. However, for this speech, I made outlines and jotted down notes and really, really stressed over it, because my sister and Mike and their wedding is much more important than any Public Relations class at Monmouth University ever was. (I bet when my sister had to give speeches for school, SHE was always completely prepared…she was always the much-better student.)

On my first day of kindergarten, my teacher saw my last name and she instantly recognized it and told my class the story of Andrea’s first day of kindergarten, when she tried to escape and ripped a doorknob off of the classroom door…probably because she wanted to be home with my mom and me. At that moment, at five years old, I knew that for the rest of my life, people would hear my last name and associate me with my sister, and that I would always be trailing behind her. Now, if I had any other sister, that might have been a bad thing, but because I had MY sister, it was one of the best things in the world.

Even though I have always thought that Andrea and I were as different as the textures of our hair, I think the older we get, the more alike we are, the closer we get, and the more I love and admire you. I think anybody who speaks to Andrea for five minutes would know what an incredibly caring, generous, selfless person she is. I think she has illustrated that over and over in the line of work that she has chosen. I don’t think there is another person here tonight who has driven a busload of developmentally disabled people to a Barry Manilow concert in the middle of a tropical storm. Anybody? Yeah, didn’t think so.

My sister has always been there for me, always patient, but also always giving me an extra push when I needed it, which is very often…like when I was learning to drive, and was a nervous wreck and was going about twenty miles below the speed limit, and Andrea sat in the passenger seat going, “Faster! Faster!”

There are so many stupid, inside, random jokes that only we will ever understand and, let alone, find hysterically funny. We can’t even sit next to each other at some events, because odds are, we’ll be making fun of people and things too much…all we need to do is shoot a single glance over to the other and we both crack up, reading each other’s minds and knowing exactly what the other is finding so funny. I know that I can’t and never will be able to do that with anybody else...and that's okay.

Mike!!!!!!!!! Mike, I always wanted a big brother, and you definitely became one to me very quickly, teasing me mercilessly, but also coming through for me, like when I was stranded in the train station at 2 AM because I forgot my car keys and you were the only person I could call to help me. I first met Mike when Andrea brought her platonic roommate to Bobby and Erica DeMarco’s wedding three years ago. I remember the guy in the suit sitting on my mother’s couch, and now he’s the guy that is going to make my big sister very happy for the rest of her life. My mom and sister and I are a very hard gang to break into…I’m sure you have noticed…and you have fit right in with, which I think is a rather difficult thing to do. The three of us have been through a lot together, so we are fiercely protective of each other. Congratulations on being approved and accepted into our family…it is a very great accomplishment and I doubt many men could handle it.

Personally, one thing that has endeared Mike to me forever is the fact that he always asks me what’s going on in the world of New York City musical theatre, and he even pretends that he is somewhat interested when I respond. Not many 30-year-old straight guys would do that, so he really MUST love my sister for listening to me ramble about the strengths and weaknesses of the Chorus Line revival. He was definitely brought up right, and has a wonderful family, and I feel we have gained some great family members today.

I know a lot of people here tonight are thinking about a very special guest who is missing. I don’t think his absence is ever more sharply felt than on these special occasions and I know how much we all miss him and wish he was here to celebrate with us…but I know our dad IS here, I can feel him, and I know how much he would have loved Mike. And, of course, Mike would have loved him...because everybody loved my dad!

Now if you'd just give me a couple of more minutes, I'd like to now sing a song that I wrote just for today...

Since this is the first wedding toast I have ever given, I had to google “how to make a wedding toast” so that I would know exactly what to do. There are even websites where you can fill out questionnaires and this guy writes you a really touching toast to give! I didn’t use one of those. However, I did find some good instructions.

According to Wickopedia, you should “end the toast with a formal indication to inform them of the ending of the toast and what to say next. For example “Let us now toast the happiness of Jill and Jack. To Jill and Jack!”

So, “Let us now toast the happiness of Andrea and Mike. To Andrea and Mike!”

Diana Rissetto