The Toast I Would Have Given…

In late March I had the privilege of driving to Albuquerque, NM, to share in the wedding celebration of two of my favorite people: Kristen and Allen. They live in Chicago, where they’d already had two or three celebrations, and their final wedding hurrah was in Albuquerque so that Allen’s lifelong friends and family could join in the fun.

Although I intended to speak at the reception, time was kinda’ limited and I didn’t get a chance. Hence this blog post. It’s my belated declaration of love for Kristen and Allen.

Allen, Kristen, and FroYo in Chicago, October 2011.

Kristen and I have known each other since junior year of high school, which puts us close to 20 years of friendship. During those high school years Kristen couldn’t get rid of me. I seem to remember being at her house almost every day. I thought of myself as her “study break” because, from my slacker point of view, she studied way too much!

I remember things as brush strokes of colors and feelings, which means that my past is a blurry haze…and this makes it difficult to share stories about people. Mostly what I know is that my love for Kristen is ever-deepening and ever-expanding. Time is of no consequence for us.

Kristen loving up her daughter, Ella.

This is what else I know: Kristen’s body seems to house the sun—she is radiant and brilliant in all ways. She’s an inherently happy and energetic person, thirsty for every last drop of life. She’s fueled by the renewable energy of her own creativity. I love to hear about the 20 or so projects she has going on at any time. And did I mention that her brain is as brilliant as her beauty? Yep, she’s kind of a genius…electrical engineering…I never understand what she’s talking about but I love to hear about her work anyway. Just the mention of her name makes me happy; her energy is contagious. And she gives great hugs. And she’s an amazing photographer; she really captures the essence of her subject. And she’s incredibly kind and generous. And she’s a devoted mother without losing her own identity. Need. to. take. a. breath…

Photo of a photocopy of a photo...me (left) and Kristen (right) in Denver in 1999.

And then there’s Allen. I LOVE Allen. From the moment I met him, I felt like I’d known him forever. He has this giant heart energy that brings tears to my eyes when I think of him. He’s an umbrella there to give cover, solid earth upon which to rest, cool water in which to bathe on a hot day, that first gulp of air when surfacing from under water.

When he walked into the room with Kristen on his arm at their wedding reception, the love and pride emanating from him was palpable. It brought tears to my eyes and took my breath away for a moment. Later Allen paid tribute to his late father, hardly able to get the words out between sobs. It was such a beautiful and vulnerable display of affection—and it made me love him even more.

Allen and Kristen reading their customized version of "The Invitation" by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. March 24, 2012.

And while I could go on and on about Allen’s specific attributes, like how handsome he is, how metro, how tidy, how thoughtful, how reliable…it just doesn’t do enough to describe the phenomenal man he is. Therefore, I will stick with metaphor. And I will continue to hope that someday the technology will exist to clone him so that I can have an Allen of my own.

And guess what? Kristen is pregnant! A new baby will enter the world soon to be enveloped in the love of Allen, Kristen, and Ella. That’s one lucky baby!

And to Allen’s friends and family: Thank you for the warm welcome, it meant the world to me.

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