I’ll admit that I knew in December that this corner of my previous life would collect a bit of dust this year. And I won’t attempt to catch you up on the ten months since. That’s a project for November 8th and beyond (subtitled “An Instagram Story”). In short, it’s been the single hardest and best thing I’ve ever done. The people are deeply affectionate, determined, and challenging in equal, tidal portions. And we have an election to win in 36 days--my lucky number, as it happens. With that kind of countdown comes the knowledge that there are still miles to go until we sleep. If you’re looking to help, I built this: http://OFA.BO/TKTC
What brings me back here is a wedding. I’m tempted to call it a piece of my past life but as important as this campaign is and as much as everyone on it has to be ready to sacrifice on a personal level…some things are going to rise above the all-encompassing nature of life on a very serious deadline.
The ultimate example, in my case, being the marriage of my best person, Miss Molly McGuffin Wynn, or, as of this publishing, Mrs. Molly Wynn Banuelos. It’s a long (and blessedly direct) flight back to Chicago from Guadalajara and in-air wifi has yet to come to Volaris. In the company of clouds, it’s easy to spot silver linings and this post is it.
Below is the speech I (more or less or wine) gave at Saturday night’s reception, along with a few selects from a beautiful weekend about 90 minutes deep into the mountains outside of GDL. A note that half the fun of the weekend was being surrounded by a beautiful set of co-conspirators.
It’s also an excuse to tell the best real life love story I know. Maybe that’s cheesy enough to choke on but I’m a sap and it just couldn’t have happened to two better people.
Special thanks to Abby and Paco for helping me to sound like I even remotely speak Spanish.
Buenas noches. Por favor disculpen mi español. Lo que digo en este momento es lo único que se decir. Me llamo Jessi y vivo en Chicago. Molly y yo crecimos juntas. Estoy segura que vamos a seguir creciendo juntas durante los años que vienen. Asi es nuestra amistad. Quiero decir que estoy tan contenta de estar aquí. Y, a la familia Bañuelos, quiero decir gracias. Gracias por criar a este hombre, que hace tan buen pareja con mi mejor amiga. Me gustó inmediatamente--y a Molly tambien.
This seems like the appropriate time to switch back to a language I'm a little more familiar with. Molly is the linguist of the two of us and she's not in any position to be cleaning up after me this time. I'm Jessi. Molly and I grew up together. I expect that we will be growing up together for the rest of our lives. Having thanked the Banuelos family in Spanish, I turn to the Wynns who have been a second family to me for legitimately half my life.
Molly is the best person I know and I don't think you'll find much argument from my table on that point. She is slow to anger, incredibly kind, and generous of spirit/in spirit/with spirits. She is a person who for my entire young adult life has been the one I have pushed my luck with. The one encouraging me to "lean into it." She is to your credit.
I've been promising to tell the story of how Molly and Jaime met for a couple years now. It's been apparent for a while that this opportunity would arise so I've been excited to tell one of the best stories I know. My best friend met the love of her life while sitting on the front steps of a flower shop in the midst of a witching hour. "Witching hour" in this case can be defined as "the hour at which Molly and I have had two bottles of wine and are now cackling at each other's likely not very funny jokes. Say 12-ish on a December night in Chicago. To summarize, a witching hour not unlike the one we’re facing now, under very different circumstances.
Molly was in Chicago visiting from Minneapolis and the two of us had taken ourselves out for dinner at a French place, bien sur, and treated ourselves accordingly. We were establishing our next moves for the evening when, down State Street, came a pair of objectively handsome gentlemen, rattling off conversation in a romance language of undetermined origin. Judgments were made and suddenly your two adventuresses relayed a shout of "Viva Italia!" in a manner better suited for a soccer field.
And they stopped. Because who wouldn't be curious at that point? And because the Universe is a strange and wonderful place, we adopted each other. Molly and I, Jaime and Armando. It only much later occurred to us that the Italians are unlikely to have sons named “Hai-may.” Or would think to summon me as “Yessi.“
We ran around Chicago with poor Sheridan, the Spanish teacher, who was likely suspicious all along. And it should have ended there. A funny run-in with a pair of tall, dark, and handsomes. Another city story to add to the collection.
But it didn't end there.
Two continents, two years, and a surprisingly small amount of emails later, Molly had moved to Chicago after all. And I take a lot of credit for that. I found her an apartment, promised her meals and adventures great and small. But there was more to her city selection and I guess I knew that, even then. By not a small miracle, they had seen the goodness in each other immediately. She was here for all of a month before they found each other again and that was that.
Since then, Jaime has been the guy who made enough Palomas for all of us. The one who manned the grill when it was raining, who could talk to anyone at the party, and whispered sweet nothings to the gato to get her out from under the bed. He is the kind of person who understands the importance of perfect pancakes, danced the night away with my mom at our friend's wedding, and he's the kind of man who took a bro OUT on the soccer field when he got too rough with Molly. Safe to say she’d do the same for him.
I was lucky to be there the night you met. Even in the wine haze, the next day you were different. You had seen something. You knew something. And now here we are, five years later, and we're in the mountains outside of Guadalajara. You've just married the not-quite-Italian man we met on the steps of a flower shop after two bottles of wine. I'm looking at you now, knowing you're about to lean into whatever comes your way as a pair. And it’s going to be absolutely incredible. I love you both. Felicitaciones y los mejores deseos para ambos en el día de su boda.