My best friend since the age of 5 got married this summer (heeeey heeyyyy Liana!). She asked my other best friend and I to give a speech (as we were joint maid-of-honours). Despite the fact that, when she asked us, her wedding was still a long 360-ish days away, my stomach fell to the floor like a piano out of a third floor window. As it hit the ground with a smash, I heard my oh-so-practical brain telling my vocal cords to say "yes of course I will do it!" The damage was done and the deed was set.
It is not an exaggeration when I say that I could not have done it without my gal Caitlin. Seriously. She is so cool that I feel cool by association, and when I was with her planning I began to think, hey, I can do this. Maybe. We spent hours sitting at the river planning, and in between dips (in the water) and sips (of cider), we came up with a totally jazzy little poem of a speech. The hardest part wasn't coming up with the material to say but quite the opposite. The three of us have been friends for so long that the most difficult task was choosing which hilarious memories and Liana-isms to share and which to keep secret (you're welcome Liana!). ; )
Since public speaking has always been something I am completely terrified of, I thought this would be a good goal. Although, it was kind of cheating because I knew I had to achieve it no matter what. That made it all the more scary. There was no getting out of this one.
As the day got closer, the cocoons of butterflies inside my stomach began to unravel, and they started their daily dance of nerves inside me. I called my mom to practice. I went over to my aunt's for dinner to practice. I held my boyfriend captive on the couch to practice. Whenever someone didn't jump through the roof with laughter and excitement, I felt as if I had completely failed. I will never be a dramatic actor, that's for sure. But I am a children's librarian, so hyping up the words on the page is my specialty. All I had to do, I realized, was treat the moment like I would a story time with the kindergartens - put in just the right amount of enthusiasm and silliness, followed by smiles and pauses at all the right moments. Everyone says to picture the audience in their underwear. I'd rather not. More helpful for me was picturing them all as eager-to-please five year olds. A room full of kindies will never make you feel anything but wonderfully special.
The night before, I was a bundle of adrenaline - so excited to get dressed up and watch my friend marry her love - but so nervous I could barely think of anything else. I closed my eyes with that Christmas Eve knot of anticipation buzzing inside me. That morning though, all thoughts of the speech and my silly worries went right out the window, and the day became all about Liana. I really don't think I gave it a thought until the moment we were about to walk in to the dining room and somebody told me I had to walk in dancing! Dancing!! Clearly this person just wanted to remind me what sort of horrors lay ahead for me in that dining room. Clearly they were pure evil in a wedding planner's disguise. Clearly.
Dinner was delicious. Or so I heard. All of my energies were focussed on those plates emptying around the room. Empty plates meant one thing and one thing only - speech time. And then it was time. After lovely, hilarious, and memorable words from their family, it was our turn at the pedestal. If there had been a richter scale in the room, it would have detected considerable movement, as my hands couldn't have been more shaky. But, luckily, all the shake stayed in the hands, and my voice didn't quaver more than twice. Caitlin started us off, and we spoke, in turns serious and funny, about our love for our amazing friend on this amazing day. People laughed (at our jokes!), clapped, smiled, awwed, and cheered. I kid you not. And before I knew it, we were sitting down and smiling at each other ear to ear. It was done and we had pulled if off like rockstars. I think there is a video of it out there somewhere. But lets pretend there's not. The adrenaline from that speech had me dancing all night - bottle of pinot grigio be damned.
And with that, my August goal was complete.
Looking back, I can happily say that Liana's wedding was one of the best days of my life. I would do it again in a heartbeat (sweating palms, buzzing tummy, earthquake hands, and all).
How did I get so lucky at the age of five to meet the two best girls? Someone was looking out for me.