“Sis, you should take a look at this,” my brother said, glancing back and forth between me, the Bible, and the small group of people gathered in the pews. “I think you’ve got the wrong verse in the program.”

I could feel the hot blood rising to my cheeks. I’d been through the program a million times. And now, there was one last scripture reading keeping me from our rehearsal dinner on Montmartre. “Jeffrey, I know what I’m doing. Just read the verse listed in the program.”

A large U.S. wedding was something formal and fussy and not very enticing. Nothing like this. My wedding in Paris was going to be perfect. The candles flickering off the stained-glass windows would cast a kaleidoscope of colors on my white satin gown. The hotel looking out at the sparkles and glitters of Paris would awe the 60+ friends and family coming half-way across the globe for our special day.

I’d picked one of my favorite verses for my brother to read. It perfectly captured the love Barrett and I had for one another.

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm,
for love is strong as death,
jealousy is fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very flame of the Lord.
Song of Solomon 8:6-7

My brother hesitated. “I’m telling you, I think you’ve got the wrong verse in the program,” he said again.

Piqued at my brother’s tone, I snapped, “Just read the verse Jeff . . . Please!”

“Alright, alright,” he shrugged. Jeff stood up tall and leaned toward the microphone.

I nodded, and we all fell silent.

With his clearest voice possible he loudly read the verse listed in the program: “‘We have a little sister, and she has no breasts; What shall we do for our sister on the day when she is spoken for?’ Song of Solomon 8:8.”

Yeah, I deserved that.


I know your little brother swipes your stuff. I know he colors “scribble-scrabbles” on your art projects. I get that he can be annoying. And I realize you were born with a bossy streak – no fault of your own.

But your little brother is also with you, coloring the pages of your life. He’ll make you cry one moment and make you laugh so hard milk will come out of your nose the next.

Then, one day, he’ll grow up. He’ll have a family of his own. And, if you’re me – one day – you’ll see your brother hugging his beautiful special needs daughter and you’ll see him with new eyes. You’ll see him for the strong, kind, and wonderful man that he is – and probably always was.

Even if he does make fun of your small breasts.



Jeff and Ally Hug