My brother, Eric, got married last month, and I had the honor of being his best man. This meant I had the floor to give a speech during the reception. I haven’t given many speeches in my life, but as soon as I knew it was happening I knew it would be probably one of the most important speeches in my life.

Not because of any certain outcome hinging on my performance, but because of the gravity of the moment and my place in it. I saw it as an opportunity to put my stamp on this moment – to add something only I could add, and to make it mean something, for me, for my brother, for my family, and for everyone else in attendance.

For the better part of the year, the idea of giving this speech tumbled around the back of my head. I vowed not to force it out of myself; rather, I wanted it to come naturally, from my heart. The content of what I would say was completely unknown until one day, about a month before the wedding, while I was doing the dishes. I remember it vividly. My hands were soaked, and all the sudden everything I wanted to say came forth from my subconscious mind. I quickly dried my hands off, whipped out my phone, and jotted down as much as I could capture.

When the day came, I was less nervous than I thought I would be, albeit still slightly on edge. The Polish vodka made it hard to feel nerves, so that helped.

I walked up to the mic and did what I planned on doing – spoke from the heart (with my brief notes to guide me). I talked about my relationship with my brother. I mentioned that I always grew up feeling like I was stuck under his shadow as his younger brother, but that as we grew older I came to admire him by choice. I of course tossed in the time he “tried to kill me” with my own hockey stick when we were young. Finally, I welcomed his lovely wife, Paulina, to our family by mentioning three special moments that confirmed she would fit right in.

Both pictures, from left to right, are my cousin Kyle, my brother Eric, Kyle’s brother Drew, and me. The one on the bottom was taken at Eric’s wedding last month, and the one on the top was taken almost 20 years ago, also at a wedding. The four of us are the ones in our family who, traditionally, will carry on the Fraser family name. We call ourselves the “Legacies,” and for the last 4 years, we’ve reenacted this photo every time we all get together.

I’m very proud of my brother. I admire the step he’s just made in his life. The whole wedding experience gave me the chance to think about the way life changes. He was the first of my siblings to get married, and the act was symbolic of a completely new chapter for him. I see how his goals and actions have changed leading up to this moment, and it’s made me reflect on my own life and the change that is upon me. It’s made me think about how I want to direct my own life. Things change, whether we like it or not. We can plunge into the dance of life and run, chest out, into the future, or we can close our eyes and let it drag us across time. Standing still is not an option. I’m reminded of this every time I look through our album of Legacy photo reenactments.

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