My little sister got married yesterday. It was such a beautiful day, and throughout the ceremony and reception I kept feeling like my heart would just burst. I gave a speech at the wedding which I thought I’d share here,too. 

Lizzie,  I meant every word, and I couldn’t be happier for you. 

Photo by Brent Calis Photography

I was two and a half years old the first time I met Lizzie. I imagine I was enjoying my glorious, if short-lived, reign as the youngest and cutest of the Somerville kids, when my older brother Liam and I were brought to the hospital to meet our new sibling. Liam had been through this once before, I however, had no idea what to expect

I don’t remember the first time I saw her, but I am certain that I didn’t know, looking at that tiny pink bundle, that I was meeting my very first little sister, my soon-to-be best friend, and eventually, many years down the road, the second mother to my daughter.

I had no idea how lucky I was, that beautiful day in April, but I’ve known it every day since.
Since that day, many others have come to know Lizzie like I do. One of her childhood nicknames was Little Bit,  but everyone who’s met her knows what I do, that her heart is just huge.

She was always an eager apprentice in the kitchen, learning from both our mom and our grandmother, Annie, and she now creates incredible feasts that put my mediocre efforts to shame on a daily basis. (seriously Lizzie, you make even organic mac and cheese look really bad.)

Growing up in a house of six kids is not always easy, but no matter what squabble arose between us, Lizzie inevitably emerged as the peacemaker. She was -and is – so gentle, kind, patient, and understanding, that she was always  determined to have us make up, whether we wanted to or not. Discord of any sort really bothered her, and it still does. Lizzie always seeks to fill the lives of those around her with love.

Being the oldest girl,  I often found myself taking care of my younger sisters as we grew up, but when Olive and I moved to Calgary last year, the tables turned and Lizzie was my rock. She helped me, and continues to help me, more than I can say, and Olive absolutely loves her “Aunt Loulie”.  After Lizzie looked after her one night when I went out with friends, Olive told me she wished I would go out more so Loulie could always take care of her – I’ll try Olive! I’ll try.

Over the years, I often wondered who Lizzie would find to match her ginormous heart, her gentle nature, and her seemingly endless capacity for love.

Enter Eric.

For a big guy he’s sometimes easy to miss, because it can be tough to get a word in edgewise around the Somerville sibling chaos, but Eric’s presence is so steady – at family gatherings he is always there, with a big grin, usually right beside Lizzie, playing cribbage and just filled with adoration. He just adores her, and as her big sister, there’s nothing that makes me happier than that.

I offered to look over Eric’s vows for him last night, and after I complimented him on what he’d written he said very simply, “It’s easy, when what you’re writing is true.” Eric, I have always felt lucky to have Lizzie in my life, and I know that she is incredibly lucky to have you. We are so excited to formally welcome you to our family.

Of course, after meeting Eric’s family, Eric made total sense. They are so warm so welcoming and so fun it’s been an absolute delight getting to know them better, and we couldn’t have hoped for a more wonderful extended family to join this motley crew of ours.

So, I’d like to offer a toast to my very first little sister, on her wedding day. Please join me in raising your glasses to Lizzie, to Little Bit, and to Aunt Loulie, and also to Eric, the man for whom loving is easy, because it is true.

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  • Reply Allison August 21, 2016 at 7:23 PM

    Beautiful. As always.

    • Reply Madeleine Somerville August 21, 2016 at 11:46 PM

      Thank you!

  • Reply becklist August 21, 2016 at 7:52 PM


    • Reply Madeleine Somerville August 21, 2016 at 11:45 PM

      You’re not alone! I started full on ugly crying about three sentences in 😉

  • Reply Madalina August 22, 2016 at 2:43 PM

    Subscribing to the crying bit! You girls are so lucky to have each other, I only wished I had that relationship with my sister.

    • Reply Madeleine Somerville August 22, 2016 at 9:39 PM

      It wasn’t always easy growing up, it sometimes felt more like we were reluctant roommates than best friends, but as we grew older l of us began to see each other as people, not just annoying older/younger siblings. It’s been such a fantastic thing to watch them grow up. Even if you and your sister aren’t close, you can find that type of sister relationship in friends, too! Xoxoxo

  • Reply Sam Pereira August 23, 2016 at 5:11 AM

    It was the last bit that got me!

  • Reply Christine A. Featherstone August 23, 2016 at 6:20 AM

    What lovely sentiments. Your entire clan are quite remarkable.

  • Reply heidi ruckriegel August 29, 2016 at 4:54 AM

    Lovely speech… I don’t remember what I said at my sister’s wedding last year, I lost my notes and had to make it up on the spot. It was a great wedding, though. Outside, in the mountains on a ranch in Colorado. Beautiful.

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