To Victor and Sydney

20 years of history with one of you, 10 on the other — Oh, where to begin?

Victor, my earliest memory with you honestly isn’t a great one, nor one I can claim to remember of my own recollection… rather,  it was relayed to me years later via friends and family. Apparently, way back in first grade (AKA two decades ago) you had a sleepover for the guys in our APDS class. If I had to guess, the party was probably great!! … For everyone but me since I allegedly wet my pants/sleeping bag/whatever and had to go home for a dry pair of clothes. Personally, I’d like to see the receipts on this incident (you can’t prove a thing!), but ya gotta admit, that event set a great precedent. With pants peeing being Act One of our story, there’s literally nowhere things could’ve gone but up. I know full well this letter will cement my spot as the snowflake to end all snowflakes — but for you pal, it’s absolutely worth it. I mean, you know how I can get with letters…

In the beginning, you and I would start out as friendly rivals of a sort. Sports and video games would inevitably prevail as our primary arenas of choice. Despite us often winding up on the same team, our hidden agenda was to always best the other. I was definitely faster, but you were always stronger; you were undoubtedly patient, but I was undeniably persistent. Victor: I can say WITHOUT A DOUBT, there’s no single being on this earth I hated losing to more than losing to you. But no matter how much we competed for that highly coveted top spot, our friendship never faltered over it — Heck, you know as well as I do that our kinship was ostensibly contagious back then. It wasn’t long after that we’d see our dad’s become best of friends as well; our moms would also turn into shopping BFFs. Looking back, the father/son double-duo thing we had going on verges on the cusp of sickeningly adorable.

#squad

Middle school would be where we truly got to know one another. Remember all the times we tried to double bounce each other off of that super dangerous trampoline in your back yard?! How about that time you and Jonathan got into it over a match of the imported Dragon Ball game for the Playstation — the one that ended up with you grabbing him by his pressure points and him biting you in the stomach in an attempt to escape your death hold? Your dad wasn’t very happy about that one. Recall the time I decided to go full-on anime with one of your Beyblades, LET IT RIP!! from mid-air, and sliced one of your mom’s nicer china bowls clean in two? I sure do. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you about the joint family trips to Tennessee and Disney. The time when both our dads got their noses busted by the same guy playing basketball within weeks, if not days, of one another? Strangely enough, both of us also faced major nose trauma a few years back from today: I got walloped by my own teammate on a defensive play during ball; you, on the other hand, easily managed to outdo me by chasing down a deranged customer causing a raucous at your father’s restaurant who, thusly, bit you on the nose to escape. (Seriously, STOP GETTING BIT!) And who could forget that infamous incident with my dad and the Boy Scout obstacle course? (You know the one…) It’s a little hard to believe how many unique fragments of time we shared together. Even being as young as I was back then, it was painfully obvious that our bond had transcended friendship and was more akin to that of family.

I really do mean that.

That’s why it made it so unbearable when you left Prep in the latter stages of middle school. And thus began Act Two — The dark middle chapter. Your departure left me asking myself a lot of self-centered questions. Who was I going to hang out with? Who was I going to talk to about the niche sort of games and TV I enjoy? Who was going to invite me over on the weekends? I would quickly find out the answer to this question: no one. Back in those days, Middle Schoolers didn’t have cell phones, so for a stint, the only air between us was a deadly silence. You were going through a lot of things too, but I was too caught up in this sense of “betrayal” I felt to notice. But time passed — You grew, as did I. Our next encounter would be between two different people.

We’d be reunited at a dance recital for Araceli’s Quinceañera. You could say that the whole occasion caught us on the back foot, seeing as both of us have two left feet. At the time, I had recently started watching Naruto. Unsurprisingly, I remember thinking the relationship between the two main characters was all a big metaphor for us. This was my one chance to bring my friend back to the village — it’s funny how many parallels there are to draw between our lives and the tales we watch… In regards to Naruto, fortunately I haven’t become an absolute people-hating psychopath just yet, but I digress. You had changed. The new Victor had put down the video game controller and picked up a guitar in its place. The new Victor had an unbridled passion for cars and speed. The new Victor no longer picked on his younger sister and actually took on a brotherly role. On my end, the only real difference was that I had probably gotten quieter (or so I think). Despite our changes, everything continued as though they had never stopped to begin with.

Uncle Onate and little sis

What I remember most though about this new Victor was his newfound kindness. You tried to teach me guitar; you’d help me clean my car after years upon years of neglect; you’d always be accommodating, never allowing me to feel out of place around any of your friends for long. Additionally, it became clear that you extended that kindness to everyone. You taught my mom a fair share of tricks on her electric; when my buddy Josh came over for game night you offered him some new bulbs for his headlights. Even with a total stranger, you put your best foot forward. It goes without saying that your entire family appreciates what you do for them, striving to improve their quality of life as well as the ones around you. Steadily, your circle of friends continues to grow as you progress as a man. Your focused passion for helping people would take you to ASU and lead you to the final two pieces of the puzzle that make up the Victor we all know today: finance and Sydney.

Sydney, it really took me some time to really get a grasp on you. That’s not to say I didn’t like you at first, you were just… Different… Hard to get a genuine read on… Which means that you’re a lot like me. But you’re also nothing like me. Let me explain: If most people were to “zig”, then we would “zag”. Despite us both “zagging”, your “zag” is 1/x my “zag”… You’re the teacher, YOU do the math! We’re both pretty weird, we’re both pretty unconventional, but I think that’s a good thing — the world needs a little more “different” if it doesn’t want stagnation to set in. If you ever find yourself uneasy in your own uniqueness, remind yourself that it led to you getting engaged to one of the best men in the world. 

It didn’t take long for me to realize that you and Victor were a long term match. Only you could rival my desperate determination of feigning interest when Victor goes on one of his long-winded, empassioned finance diatribes — trust me, THAT is love. Sydney, I thank you for putting up with both of us and our antics: whether it’s listening to an hour long conversation of whether Virtual Reality is relevant or not (it’s not), or cringing at our slightly unsettling holiday gift escalation that’s been going on for the past few years. Victor and I are both meticulously frugal, but when it comes to each other, we transform into the Kermit meme. Regardless, thank you for understanding. 

You will make a great wife.

Act Three

Between Sydney becoming a teacher and Victor opening Prometheus Wealth Management, I couldn’t be more proud of you two. Well… that statement only remains true until the inevitable third pillar of the Onate family arrives in June. He doesn’t know it yet, but the young one is encompassed in a blanket of support most children could only dream of having. I look forward to aging all three of you, and any additions to the family thereafter. Here’s to the many experiences that life has in store for us right on the cusp of the horizon.

Congrats you two.

– Darren

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