Opinion: Sister-by-choice


Over the weekend I attended my ex-sister-in-law’s wedding. Sounds weird, I know, but she was married to my husband’s brother for 15 years and became one of my dearest friends. Since the divorce, we’ve stayed close, and so I didn’t hesitate when she asked me to come down to Florida for the ceremony.

The thing is, even though I like the new guy and she is clearly very happy, the whole event felt strange. I muddled through dinner conversation with her husband’s teenage daughters and their friends; I awkwardly explained my relationship to the bride during a multitude of introductions; and I ate from a potato bar, which although cool and incredibly delicious, just added to the surreal nature of the night. A potato bar!

Even more taxing however was the number of emotional outbursts and spiritual moments I found myself unwittingly a part of. For those of you who don’t know me, communal praying, crying, and hugging make up my own personal heebie-jeebie trifecta, and typically cause me to break out a disco move, an inappropriate remark or a short Broadway musical number. All fine, unless you’re at a funeral or, as was the case, a devout Christian wedding.

So when I arrived at the church and saw my sister-by-choice (that’s what I call her now) for the first time in a year, she burst into tears. Nooooooo! I wanted to run straight out the door, but instead made a fart joke and earned a few eyebrow raises from the grooms’ family.

And then I got stuck in the dressing room when her two besties announced it was time for the prayer circle. They began calling on Jesus and laying on hands, and I was just sitting there with pit stains forming, trying to suppress an urgent need to sing Abba’s “Mamma Mia.” Instead of “Amen,” I said “Are your eyelashes fake because they are amazing!” Ugh. What is wrong with me?

But I suppose that’s what sisters are for, right? Even if we’re not technically related anymore, I still know how to make her laugh. Peace out.

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