Monday, August 4, 2008

Little Leon's All Grown Up

Me and Ree throughout the years: Hanging on our front stoop in Marshalltown, IA, circa 1978; at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, circa 1980; all dressed up in Lilburn, GA with friends Howard, Michelle, and Henry, August 1990; seeing me off to college at the Atlanta Airport, September 1994; back in Georgia for the winter holidays, December 1995; at a laundromat in Florence, Italy, August 2006; and the happy couple in Atlanta, GA, July 2008

There are moments in every big sister's life when she realizes her little brother isn't so little anymore. For me, the first moment was in the tenth grade when I woke up one morning to find that the Dungeons 'n' Dragons-playing runt I grew up with was suddenly a head taller than me. Another moment was when Leon told me about the first time he got drunk (I seem to recall there was lumber, an axe, a cab driver, and a forest in Germany involved). Yeah, all these moments were hints that my little brother was growing up, but the one that really clinched it was when he got married. Yup, my little brother now has a wife! A wife!! What is the world coming to?? Even more mind-boggling than the fact that he married is the fact that the woman he married is as lovely as Claire is. AND my son likes her. Leon, ya did good.

Given their international upbringings, Leon and Claire decided to have two wedding receptions on opposite sides of the globe: one in Georgia and the other in Singapore. Since we were not going to be able to go to the Singapore wedding, Vince, Benjamin, and I flew out at the end of July to attend the nuptials in Hotlanta. There we met Claire's parents, her sister Anne-Marie, and some of her extended family, all of whom were warm and friendly. My own parents spent most of the weekend good-naturedly fighting over who got to hold/kiss/burp their only grandchild. The only thing they didn't fight over was changing diapers. My dad prefers not to, which is convenient, because my mom loves doing it. What can I say? The woman's love knows no bounds.

In keeping with Chinese marriage customs, my mom had Benjamin and another baby, Chloe, roll across the bridal bed. This custom signifies that my brother and Claire will be fertile and produce children quickly. Ew! May the words "my brother" and "fertile" never appear in the same sentence again. Moving right along...

In case you're wondering, Benjamin did really well on the flight. The sum total of his crying totalled five minutes tops, but that wasn't good enough for the passenger seated in front of us on the flight back to LA. Benjamin had just started whimpering when I hear someone loudly declare, "Oh, you've GOT to be kidding me." I look up to see a woman with a shellacked bouffant glaring down at Benjamin. Just as I was about to make some remark that would include the words "rude" and "liver spots," I caught myself. That would be something that Old Lily would do, not New and Improved Mama Lily. So instead of verbally attacking the woman, I bit my tongue. Ok, I kicked the back of her seat a couple of times, too. Guess Leon isn't the only one who's all grown up!

So on that note, I'll close this post by saying one last thing: Leon, you've been my closest friend and a pain in my ass through our journey from Iowa to Georgia to Singapore to China to Italy and all the places in between. I am so excited for you and Claire as you move on to this next phase of your lives. I wish you two every happiness in the world, and I look forward to seeing what the future will bring you (especially if it includes cousins for Benjamin to play with - no pressure!). Congratulations, little brother!


Debbie Kee said...

You enjoy breaking my heart don't you? I laughed I cried then I cried some more. As much as I obsess over the singing Mohawk baby, and pictures of the new chompers... I would say THIS was the most touching blog entry to date :) You're such a good Big sis Lils!! And yes - you're all growns up too!!

Debbie Kee said...

Oh and P.S You're not supposed to be hot in 1994! Arrg! :)

CONGRATULATIONS REE AND CLARE!!! You make a beeeeeeautiful couple!

Vincent said...

I hope Leon doesn't choke when he reads this :)

wsoftheart said...

wow those photos go waaay back! thanks for posting them..i look like an awkward teenager but still honored to make it to the post! ;)