Our Daughter’s Wedding Toast
By Rebecca Novak
Hi Everyone. So not many daughters get the opportunity give a wedding toast for their parents. It’s kind of an unusual situation. It’s like, “when I first met Anne and Theresa…I was in the womb. I remember when they were just two young lovebirds, the vague sound of their voices coming through to my amniotic sac.”
I also can’t ruminate on their future together. It’s like “spoiler alert,” 39 years later.. things are pretty good. You still get nervous when the other person drives. You are still in love. You have 3 kids.. and they turned out awesome.
So, I don’t get to do the typical wedding toast. But, instead I do have this really remarkable opportunity to celebrate my moms’ relationship. I want to talk about what I’ve learned from my witty, opinionated mothers.
Especially with all of the news and debate about marriage equality today, I’ve had lots of time to think about my moms and the impact they have had on me. Am I all screwed up because I have lesbian moms? Am I confused about who I am? Do I wish I had a dad?
I’ve had to answer those questions a lot. And the answer is no.
My mothers are parents who chose to be together, in spite of real obstacles. These are parents who pushed their children to always be who we are, no matter what other people think. Parents who taught us to advocate for our rights and for the rights of others. Parents who taught us to love who we love, no matter what.
They have taught me so much, but because today is a wedding, I want to talk in particular about I’ve learned from my mothers about love.
Their relationship is pretty amazing. 39 years! And I’m in a very good position to talk about their relationship and commitment to one another. I’ve had a front seat.
(Mom & Mama.. you look worried. You should be. Your kids see it all.)
Some of you might know that last summer, I hiked the John Muir Trail. It’s a backcountry trail that runs 218 miles from Yosemite, over 8 mountain passes to Mt. Whitney, all in the backcountry. This is something I would never have considered if not for the wonderful summers my mothers spent taking the three of us camping in Yosemite, in Yellowstone, in Glacier national parks. Thank you.
One of the things I was thinking about as I was hiking, was my moms. I had called them from an outpost a week into the hike, and they told me that they had been officially married in California. And I was so upset that they did it without me and without any guests, so I’m glad we’re all here today.
It’s good I had my moms to think about because while the trail was beautiful, actually hiking it was also the hardest thing I have ever done. My backpack was too heavy, it weighed 45 pounds. I had to clamber up these endless 10 mile inclines, up thousands of ft in elevation, to get to each peak. And then I had to do it all over again. Those climbs were absolutely horrible.
But then, I’d get to the top. And the top was unfailingly the most beautiful place I’d ever been, each peak more breathtaking than the last. There were turquoise alpine lakes, wildflowers, snowcapped peaks, the whole world spread out below your feet.
And I realized, this is what I know about love. And I learned it from my moms. It is hard sometimes. It can be horrible. There are endless switchbacks and sometimes you don’t know if they’ll end, you’re not sure if you’ll make it to the top.
But you keep working at it, you put your head down and put one foot in front of the other and you make it to the top. And at the top is the most beautiful place you’ve ever been.
And then you do it all over again.
And, mommy and mama, you’ve been through a lot together. You’ve climbed a lot of long uphills, and I’ve watched you put the work into many of them. You have reached so many glorious peaks. Thank you for your perseverance and your honesty, your commitment and your love. You’ve taught me that the things that matter, like love, take work.
I want to toast you both — to the mountains you have yet to climb, the peaks you have yet to reach. Congratulations, and here’s to 39 more years.