My brother Matty married Tanya, his sweetheart of many, many years yesterday. It was an amazing day that many – including myself – were skeptical would ever come. Matty and Tanya met in the summer of 2004. Matty had one more year of college at the University of Portland and Tanya had one more year at Pearl City High School. I know what you’re thinking, and everyone else was thinking it, too. During his thank yous, Matty said to Tanya’s father “I just want to say thanks for taking a chance on a 21-year old kid with long hair and a goatee.” I give Tanya’s father credit. Madison is not dating that guy. Ever.
Tanya’s arrival in our family pre-dates Madison’s by four years. Tanya has been an unofficial member of our family for so long, there were rumors that she and Matty would simply go the Kurt Russell/Goldie Hawn route and stay together forever despite never having made it official. Well, I’m glad that’s put to bed.
Tanya is one of Madison’s best friends. If Tanya is not at my parents’ house when we go over for lunch, the Goob will be visibly disappointed. Lynnette and I will sink into the couches in my parents’ living room while Madison disappears into the back of the house with Tanya. We can’t see them, but we’ll hear screaming and laughter, and everyone in a while, my daughter will scream “Aunty Taaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanz!” A while back, Lynnette and I asked Madison who Matty’s best friend was. Mad said “Aunty Tanz.” The follow up question was “Who is Aunty Tanz’s best friend?” Mad pointed at herself and said “me.” Mad loves Tanya, just like the rest of us.
Matty’s dating history is the stuff of legend. It’s so legendary, that it’s probably not fit for print in this space. A long, long time ago, Matty met his first love. They tried to make the long distance thing work. For a time, it did, but eventually, it did not.
Matty was never one to talk to me about his feelings, so I’ve mostly had to try and interpret how he’s feeling based on the way he behaved. Well, in the two years or so following the disintegration of his first serious relationship, it seemed like he was searching. My family met at least two girls who he called “girl friend,” and a few others who were not granted that title, for whatever reason. The running joke between Lynnette and I at the time was something about having to get to know them over and over again. These relationships never seemed to last.
And then a 21-year old Matty told us he was going out with a high school senior. You can see how we all thought this might simply be the next point on a trajectory heading downwards sharply.
But then Tanya came and she never left. Tanya came to our softball games. She came to all our family dinners. She lounged around the house with us watching Sports Center and Baseball Tonight when Lynnette and I were still living at my parents’ house. She made Taco Bell and Diners runs with us. She was somehow able to deal with Matty and his array of quirks, including but not limited to: the Red Sox, mid-day three-hour naps, his undying love of fast food, and also two-hour afternoon naps after the mid-day three-hour naps. Matty, for his part, had not appeared at such ease in years. I still can’t explain it. It just happened and kept happening.
I guess that’s just how love works. It doesn’t care about age gaps or goatees or hair length.
I am so happy that you’re officially a member of our family. I know Lynnette and Madison are thrilled, too. Thank you for doing for my brother what no one else could.
I hope that yesterday was only just the start of an eternity of amazing for you both. Also, Madison needs playmates.