This past weekend was my little sister, Briana’s, quinceañera and it was a pretty fun way to spend a Saturday. Not only was it pure joy to see her so damn happy but the experience made me realize what exactly has happened in the eleven months since we first met- she really has become family to me.
For those of you who don’t know what a quinceañera is, I am here to fill you in, considering I am an expert and all now. A quinceañera, also called fiesta de quince años, fiesta de quinceañera, quince años or simply quince, (take your pick!) is the celebration of a girl’s fifteenth birthday in parts of Latin America. This birthday is celebrated differently from any other as it marks the transition from childhood to young womanhood.
Briana’s big day has been a topic of conversation between us for months now. I don’t think there was one detail we didn’t cover. We talked about her desired color scheme (gold in case you were wondering), possible song options for her first dance with her father, her grand entrance ideas, the cake, her bouquet (red roses with sparkly studs glued into the center of each one), her gown (think Belle from Beauty And The Beast), her change of outfit ideas (because even Briana knows you can’t dance all night in a big dress and heels), her jewelry inspirations (a crown, naturally). She even had a pinterest page for all her ideas. I quickly learned that planning a quinceañera is a lot like a planning a wedding. Well, minus having to compromise because a quinceañera is a singular vision and let me tell you, my little sister has got a very clear vision of what she wants, which happens to be one of the many traits I love about her.
On the big day Brian and I got dressed up and set out to the church for the ceremony, which would be followed by a party at a hall nearby.
The ceremony lasted an hour or so. Much of that time was filled with various church leaders talking about the importance of this day in her life. My favorite moment of the ceremony was definitely when the doors opened and she walked in with the biggest smile on her face and killing it in her big gold dress. She really did look like Belle from Beauty and The Beast and I couldn’t help but think….NAILED IT!!
The party to follow started off a bit awkwardly for Brian and me. First off, we only knew four out of the three hundred people. Second, the MC (dressed in a truly fabulous bull fighter type ensemble) for the evening only spoke Spanish and I never knew what he was saying. Brian pulled out his high school Spanish and translated a bit for me but mostly I remained in the dark as to what was going on.
But then the sweetest thing happened. Briana brought all her friends over to meet us, proudly introducing me as her big sister each time. My heart pretty much melted all over the floor. She even made a point to sit with Brian and me when dinner was served. But nothing topped the moment she and her family (mother, father, brother and “real” sister) took the stage to thank everyone for coming, as well as each say something special to Briana. After all four of them spoke the crowd cheered. It was then the MC said something (in Spanish of course leaving me to wonder if maybe it was time to get up and dance?) but then I saw that he was making a beeline for me. For those of you who don’t know me well I am not one to speak in front of an audience of three hundred unless I am prepared. So my first thought was…OH F*#k! I glanced over at Brian for backup but he was in the process of scooting his chair far far far away from me…he’s not known to relish speaking in public without being prepared either (Thanks, babe! HA) Luckily it took awhile for the MC to reach me and I was able to have a second thought (that was far less self involved) before he arrived with the microphone…out of all these people her family wants me to speak, how very touching. Pull it together Kate.
I’m still not sure what I said, in my “I hate public speaking haze” but I do know that I finished with “I love you and I’m so grateful you are my little sister” and I meant every single word.
Such an honor to be in her life.