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Let me start by saying it’s such a joy to be here and to be a part of so many families who have joined us tonight. I’ve been blessed to call Amelia my family for over 30 years — although, until relatively recently, Meem and I were rarely ever in the same room at the same time, except for small slices of winter holidays and occasional occasions like this one.

To be honest, though, there has never been an occasion quite like this one.

This is an evening made of moments. I’ve been lucky enough to witness the story of Amelia and Naveen fall perfectly into place firsthand, from one sweet beginning to the next. Trust me when I say I have learned how easy love can look when it’s right. Trust me when I say to be so close to it all has been a gift that I’ll appreciate for the rest of my life.

Let’s briefly return to slices of time and spaces made for sharing. When Amelia and I both ended up in Los Angeles a few years ago, we did some simple math and realized it was the first time we lived in the same city since she was in high school and I was in elementary school — a truly great era where I slept on a futon in her room and she, as a teenager, loved the invasion of privacy I’m sure.

The thing is, when we did the math on our crossing paths, it surprised me because I’ve never felt like Amelia has ever been more than a toss or a turn away.

I’m chalking this up to one thing:

When you grow up with an Amelia, you grow up with the supreme comfort of knowing you, too, can become an Amelia. You can be present, no matter where you are. You can be cool and kind at the same time; you can be the life of the party and the hands that help clean up at the end of the night; you can seek adventure in the world and you can still appreciate the quiet current of a good swim back home.

You can win and you can lose, and you can show up either way with such spectacular grace.

So much of who I am is because I grew up with an Amelia. She’s contagious like that, and even when she was gone, globetrotting from destination to destination, she was so deeply embedded in how I saw what was possible in the world as a girl and as a woman.

I’m so grateful to call her mine and to be hers, I’m grateful to finally only be a drive away, and most of all, I’m grateful to see her build a life with someone who also knows what it’s like to be captivated by her — and to be equally captivating. So, here’s a toast: to family, to futons, and to always finding your way back to the people who made and make you who you are.


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Writer, Reader, Animorph

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