Have you ever been so happy in a moment you doubt if its real and you're afraid to let yourself enjoy the moment? That's how we felt all weekend. This past weekend someone very special to us got married and began a new chapter in his life.
If I close my eyes, I can actually clearly see the first time I met Sumith. It was a cold morning in January. My mom had driven my brother and I to the bus stop and we were waiting for the school bus to arrive. There were tons of kids waiting around in the cold. All of a sudden we heard yelling and see an older kid throw a chunk of slushy ice at boy much smaller than him. They pointed and laughed as the kid brushed the snow off his hair and wiped his glasses clean. My mom's heart broke and told my brother to ask the boy to come and wait in our car until the bus came. Ever since then, he's always been a part of our family.
My first memory of Sumith is quite different. I was at home, minding my own business, playing with my dolls, when my brother, Akku's brother, and Sumith came barreling in, laughing and talking loudly. My brother not-so-kindly tried to kick me out of the living room so they could play Super Nintendo. I obviously refused, saying I was there first. So my brother, Abhi, and Sumith then proceeded to make fun of me and mock me until I couldn't take anymore, got angry, and left the room. (Don't worry, I got my revenge….OJ a little salty boys?)
We all grew up a couple hundred steps away from each other for most of our childhood. Countless memories of so many of our cookie cutter birthday parties. Dollar store party decorations with party hats and blowers, boxes of Hungry Howies pizza, Kroger cake with frosting that left stains on our faces for days, and the same 3 games we always played. But we still got just as excited for each party.
Sumith is our brothers' best friend. So we both grew up with 3 brothers rather than one. We all laughed and fought like brothers and sisters do. What one monkey did, the other two were sure to follow along. They were inseparable. But our relationship with Sumith was completely different. Sumith was the one we went to complain to about our brothers. Who we cried to when our hearts were broken. Who we vented our frustrations to when life seemed unfair. And he was always there. He was even the one who invented our tripod's name: The One-Handed-Bandits (he's clever like that). He talked us down from our angry soap boxes, he always showed us the other side of every argument, and picked up the broken pieces of our heart and helped us put them back together.
When I think about Sumith, my heart fills with so much love, appreciation, and respect. This is someone who had some difficult times in the past, but has never stayed down. He's persistent, hard working, determined, motivated, loyal, and strong. He's managed to achieve the goals he set for himself and still kept his faith in humanity and God strong. He also did something rare and unheard of, no matter what happened, he always kept a smile on his face, and gave his all to those he cared about. Sumith is the type of guy who would drop everything that is important to him, and be there 100% of the time for the people he loves the most. We can definitely attest to that. He's also so forgiving and kind. Even when people hurt, upset, or disappoint him, he will always approach them with nothing but love, grace, and forgiveness. It's one of the things we respect most about him. It's also the reason why we are so protective over him. We never want him to be taken advantage of or taken for granted.
So a few months ago when he asked us to stand in his wedding with his groomsmen, we were overcome with emotion. We've been talking about his wedding for so many years now. We didn't care where he got married, what colors he chose, or what he wore. All we wanted was for someone amazing to hold his hand and walk along side of him the way he has for so many people. And God placed the most incredible woman in his life. We had been hearing about this girl for years now. Although we were happy for Sumith, we didn't really believe anyone would be good enough for him until about two years ago when we met Jana for the first time and instantly fell in love with her. She was witty, kind, and fit in so perfectly. She complimented him in every way. And we saw him transform into an even more caring and thoughtful person in front of our eyes.
We had been looking forward to the big day for so long, but now that it's over, I replay all the special moments over and over again in my head. We cried throughout that day. Tears rolled down our cheeks when Jana first walked into the church and Sumith smiled bigger than we had ever seen, when he said aloud his vows and promises, and when he hugged his mom and wiped away her tears of joy. There was so much love in the church. You could feel happiness radiating from everyone gathered.
No matter how beautiful the ceremony was, or how busy wedding festivities got, nothing will beat watching our big brother marry the love of his life. As soon as he first saw Jana walk down the aisle, everything and everyone seemingly disappeared for him. And that's exactly how it should be. We are so honored and blessed that we not only got to witness such genuine and authentic love, but that he asked us to stand by his side as he committed himself to God and this amazing woman for the rest of his life.
We are so happy you two have found each other and are starting this beautiful new phase of your lives. To Sumith, thank you for loving us like your real sisters and for asking us to be a part of your wedding. We love you so much. And to Jana, we can't wait to spend time with you and get to know you more. Thank you for loving our brother and joining our family. And of course, joining the One Handed Bandits:)
We wish you guys a lifetime of forgiveness, graciousness, compassion, love, and of course, endless amount of happiness.
We also want to thank our brothers Abel, Abhi, and Sumith for always being such a great example of a strong and unwavering friendship. One thing they did right =)