Welcome and thank you for joining us to celebrate the marriage and wedding of two of my most favorite people in the world, my daughter and son-in-law.
Mary Beth says to me one day, hey dad, there's this guy who wants to meet you. Note, it wasn't a question of could he meet me, but rather a statement that he was going to meet me. Sounds about right wouldn't you agree. Like many dads, Mary Beth had me wrapped around her finger immediately. She had me at her first cry in the delivery room right as she was born. Many remarkable life experiences have happened to me but none greater than becoming a father for the first and only time. Growing up. Mary Beth was smart, funny, compassionate, sentimental. Gifting me songs like butterfly kisses and always the diplomat with a mother at home in Michigan and a father in Florida. In many ways, she's the same today. Clearly it would take a special man to win her loyalty and love.
While we'll be toasting the happy couple soon, please first join me in a toast to Mary Beth's mother Pam Holland. For without Pam, Mary Beth would not be the woman that she is today. Pam thank you for the gift of our daughter, the greatest gift I've ever received.
So if parents got to choose their daughter's spouse. Pam says it would be a man with a good heart, intelligence and kindness. For me, I had hoped for a man with a very long last name, at least 11 letters and since the father of the bride traditionally pays for the wedding reception surely a man from a very large family at least 132 strong.
Mary Beth eventually moved into a beautiful, high-rise condominium in the heart of downtown grand rapids. I wondered, after establishing her career, if this would be the place where she would find love, get married and have children of her own that would bring her as much joy that she has brought to her mother and I. Mary Beth was first introduced to the ever expanding weather head family when her girlfriend Fran married into it as we remember and reflect. Please join me in a toast in honor of Fran, Mary Beth's grandma Mary, grandpa Leo and all those who are no longer with us. No doubt Fran is smiling down today and perhaps taking a little bit of credit for this love connection.
So it just wasn't one meeting that led to a proposal. After moving to grand rapids where Ben lived, Mary Beth sent him a text to reconnect. Ben admits, he doesn't really remember meeting Mary Beth at many of your large family gatherings but since she now lived just a stone's throw away from him, he was more than happy to show her around her new adopted hometown. Picture this, I went to visit Mary Beth at her new place and I also met the new guy. He jumped out of his shiny new pickup truck to shake my hand and said, hi, I'm Ben. This is a guy who's never met a stranger. He's interested engaging and has a childlike wonderment about him. And a fashion sense of memorable and colorful socks. Is this the guy? Possibly. Mary Beth told me that they learned a new game called hive and they plan to teach me later. Ben said, we like to play thinking and strategy games together. Smart guy. Call the father's intuition, I figured he'd win her heart if he could show her intelligence and quick learning skills. Hives seemed to be a game of three-dimensional chess. Both of them tried to teach me. I never got it. Ben's birthday was coming up. So I went out and bought him the game mastermind. And like a typical dad, I carefully wrapped it in two target shopping bags and presented it to him over dinner. You would have thought he was a little kid opening a present from Santa by his reaction. You would have thought I just bought him a new car. After returning back home a few days later, in my mailbox, I received a handwritten thank you note. “It was nice to meet you. I look forward to spending more time with you. Thank you so much for my birthday present. Mary Beth and I will have lots of fun playing the game together. Thanks again. Ben.” What a class act. Please join me in a toast to Ben's parents Tom and Debbie, as Ben is such a terrific reflection of their positive influence.
While I'll certainly leave marriage advice to others. I can offer some advice on being a good friend. Mary Beth made Ben better by encouraging him to go back to graduate school and earn an executive MBA. And Ben, he supported Mary Beth in becoming a google people consultant, even if it meant moving 90 minutes away from him. He made the decision very easy when he told her that he would move to ann arbor not if but when she got the offer. When she was later recruited to anthem blue cross in indianapolis now four hours away, Ben said he would move to wherever she was. He believes in her. A good friend makes you better. She is better because of Ben. And I'd like to believe that Ben is better because of her. The following thanksgiving. Ben joined me for an early morning workout on the drive home. He says, Mary Beth and I have a very special relationship. I'd like to move it to the next level. There are not very many women like Mary Beth. Bob, may I have your permission to marry her? I was like yeah if she doesn't marry you I will. How are you going to propose I asked. Ben says that my whole life, I always thought when I met the woman of my dreams, I would get up early and take her to see the sunrise. On the same day, I would take her to see the sunset. I would then get down on one knee and I would ask her if we could spend every sunrise and sunset together for the rest of our lives. Sandra Romanek and Ben did just that a few days before new year's at Mary Beth's happy place in northern michigan with the sunrise over lake huron and a sunset over lake michigan. Yes this is the guy after all. Ben we happily give you the gift of Mary Beth for your everlasting love, care and safe keeping. Family and friends, please raise your glass and join me in a toast to two of the most amazing people in the world Mr and Mrs weather head also known as number 49 and 132. Love you both. Thank you.