Last week, my mother got re-married. Friends know that I approached the event with a mix of joy and trepidation, and worried over details like panty hos and manicures and donning a purple sequined dress. But I have never felt happier to be among my family than that night.

One thing my mother’s husband has brought to her is a decent taste in music. I grew up listening to Jimmy Buffet cassette tapes and gifting my mother with anything parrot related at Christmas. Her new husband, though, from the beginning graced her with mix cds featuring The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Shakira, Arcade Fire, Death Cab for Cutie, Gnarls Barkley, Sia, and more.  During dinner my mother turned and tapped my arm, wanting to share with me that the song we were currently listening to was from the Juno soundtrack. Sure enough, over the chatter of friends and Aunts and Uncles and cousins enjoying themselves, was one of my favorite Moldy Peaches songs. At my mother’s wedding. Children don’t usually attend their parents’ weddings, but my goodness, am I grateful that I did. I wrote and gave the following toast for them.



Three years ago I got a call late one September night from my mother. She usually didn’t call so late, but she assured me that it was important. She said she needed my help on the computer, because she needed to know how to put a photograph on an album cover. She was up late making a mix cd for Barry.

There were all sorts of uncanny details that told me that Barry was the perfect match for my mother–from his love of Dunkin Donuts coffee, to the coincidence that his two children were the exact same ages as my brother and I. Suddenly, phone calls home to my mother were peppered with anecdotes of which new restaurant her and Barry had tried, how much fun they had had last weekend, or the sweet thing Barry had said just the other day. It was wonderfully obvious that he and she were falling in love.

Right when they were growing comfortable in their new relationship, though, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. There would be surgery, and months of draining chemotherapy and radiation. Ever practical, my mother thought that maybe Barry should move on. Why should a handsome and energetic man like Barry have to lose time to such an inconvenient chapter of life? Instead, Barry shined with all of his most admirable qualities. To my mother in those months he was nothing but loyal, kind, patient, and loving–loving in a manner I hope everyone here may experience in their lifetime. When my mother recovered, their relationship seemed even stronger, and my visits home again adopted that joy and brightness that Barry inspired in my mother, and I knew we had struck gold.

It is common knowledge that parents want what’s best for their children, but the reverse is also true. Especially when you have a mother as unique and wonderful as mine, or a father as generous and attentive as Barry, there is so much you want for them. As their children, we hope our parents would find love and companionship, someone to come home to, someone to grow old with. How lucky that our parents have indeed found this.

I cannot say how blessed I’ve felt to have had Barry in my life the last few years, and how excited I am to have him in our family for many years ago come. J. and Z., N. and I are looking forwarded to spending many holidays with you and summers at the shore house, and having a lot of good laughs. I think we are all blessed to know a couple, and a tale, as radiant as this one. I’d say there’s a happy ending, but today is not the end. It is the beginning. Here is to happiness, health, love and companionship on every day of your lives. I love you both so much.

Published by universalchampion

writer/teacher/lover of milkshakes. queer social countess. rock camp for girls enthusiast. brooklynite + bicyclist.

3 thoughts on “toast

  1. What a lovely toast to your mom and Barry, Courtney! You know how fond we are of your mom and how happy we are to know that she has found real happiness, too. Life is good! Love to all of you, Peggy & Tim

  2. I can’t wait to read more of your stuff. I googled you today after reading your artcile on Facebook (The one loveley Moira posted). I love your writing. I just read the toast to your mom and Barry, and it’s beautiful. You mom is one of my favorite cousins, and despite limited time together, that remains unchanged. I’m so glad she is happy and fuilfilled with Barry and he with her. I’m pretty happy, and I think envy is an insult to yourself, but I think how she has blossomed into an even more beautiful mid-life is wonderful–looks good to me. Keep writing! Love,


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