Zechariah Noble. Jeremiah Alan.

Imagine this as the introduction to a classic comfort movie where an old woman is remembering days gone by. That is how I will be imaging it, so you might as well join me...

The first boy I've known since the day he was born. The second, I met when he was 10 and never looked back.

Known more casually as Zeke and Jerma, my boys, or "hey you, dorks", they have both been prominent figures in my life. Zeke is my little brother. He is, in my opinion, the funniest person in the world, as well as secondary qualities such as - handsome, hardworking, generous, and thoughtful. I can truly say I adore him, and I thank God for allowing me to be his big sister. He makes me a better person, and is, unfortunately, very good at putting me in my place. He set realistic expectations for any future male relationships I could have, and yet, he helped me form standards that were very high. I think the world of my brother, and I often find that I don't tell him nearly enough. Funny how that works. Well, he's got a girlfriend now....so she can tell him he's wonderful. HA!

Jeremiah, is not my brother, but he is one of my best friends. While he isn't the funniest person I've ever met, the years and years of inside jokes, mispronounced words, movie quotes, and other such adventures are all I need to think of him fondly. While we disagree on when exactly we first met, I've known Jeremiah since 2013. I've not only gotten to watch him grow up, but I got to grow up with him. He and his sister are two of my longest friends and I treasure them both. Jeremiah is one of the boldest young men I've ever known. He is famous for speaking his mind and setting his boundaries. I never have to wonder what he's thinking, and while it may sound like I'm being a bit sassy, I actually greatly appreciate that quality in him. Beyond being bold, I would say he has a true servant's heart. He and Zeke both live by the perspective of "If you ever need anything, if you're ever in trouble, I am one call away". If there's a job that needs to be done and no volunteers to do it, he is often happy to offer himself. He is also dorky, reliable, rather intense, and he is what can only be described as a forerunner. Clearly, I love them both. Well, they are also best friends. (not all about me) With the title of BFF being bestowed back in 2014 after barely knowing each other for a year, the boys have done nothing but grow side-by-side. In friendship, in maturity, in perspective, in their faith. They grew together.

So, why am I writing this? Well, part of it is just me feeling nostalgic. Part of me feels like telling a potentially romanticized version of our childhoods as if we were in a movie. The other part of it is, the boys graduated highschool last week. I've been emotionally preparing for my brother to graduate all year, but I truly had no idea what would hit me just hours before his ceremony. This wave of happy sadness (is that a thing?) and absolute fear of the unknown for their futures. Jeremiah to go to college across the country, and Zeke at the start of a new relationship with his girlfriend and full time job. I hate change, and this was the biggest change I'd been forced into since my own college graduation, lol. I was anticipating the pain of saying goodbye long before I even knew 100% I'd have to say goodbye.

*SPOILERS*, I didn't.

All our lives, I've been taking pictures. Pictures of us, pictures of them, pictures pictures pictures! I mean, I am a photographer after all. However, there was one specific photo that I've taken the whole time. Even as I write this, I feel teary eyed....

*emotional montage music begins to play in the background*

The Piggy-back ride.

Not sure when it started, but I know how and where. It was at a wedding Mont Lamm was hosting forever ago. We were all still kids, voices weren't yet cracking, no one had shot up in height, crushes didn't exist, big mistakes had yet to be made, we still played with our imaginations and thought homework was the hardest thing we'd ever do. "We" meaning - Zeke, Jeremiah, His big sister Abigail, and myself. I had a camera and a dream of becoming a professional photographer, so I took photos of everything. That night, whenever it was, was no different than any other wedding night that we all "worked". We had been released from duty right after the food was served, our moms still cleaning dishes in the kitchen, and we ran outside to our grassy hide-away. We thought we were invisible (I can say, now as a 21-year-old who has seen many other kids play in that same area, we were in fact not invisible).

Out of boredom we started taking pictures. I remember telling the boys to "do something that looks like a stunt", and Jeremiah responding, "but we're not trained for a stunt". (he was not being sarcastic. He did not understand sarcasm. which, is also an inside joke of ours). After much deliberation, they came up with this. A pose that now lives in our own piece of history as the most iconic pose of the decade. Without meaning to, it quickly became their pose. Zeke and Jeremiah did it everywhere, and I photographed it all the time.

It's wild to me that from now on, if they do this pose, they won't be little boys or even teenagers playing a game. They'll be grown up men. Growing up, Graduation was the most "grown up" place they could do this pose. Now that we've passed that stage, this pose will be found in wedding pictures, printed in old yearbooks that they look through with their own kids. Am I being dramatic? Always. I am never not looking at life like it's a movie. This is the reflective part of the movie, which takes place in the Zeke and Jeremiah cinematic universe. A series of movies that have thus far been produced by parents and God - Cinematography by Emma Siemen.

Dramatic or not, I'm thankful for photography for this reason. I'm thankful that I have this dorky tradition with my boys. I'm thankful that I got to grow up with such wonderful friends as Jeremiah and Abigail...and Zeke. You have to have the dramatic reflective parts in the movie for the main character to remember what's most important to them. You may ask who the main character is here, but I think if the Bible has taught me nothing else about storytelling, it's that we're all main characters of our own part in the story and it all leads to Jesus in the end. I don't know what this friendship that I hold so dear will look like when Jeremiah's off to college, or what will happen when the girlfriend potentially becomes more than that, but I do know that I will always look back on this pose, these boys, and our families, and know that they were my most important people growing up. And no amount of distance, growing older, new friends, spouses, or life itself can change that simple fact. As a very small little girl, I saw my brother's lack of male friends, and I prayed before I went to bed almost every night for him to have a best friend someday who loved him for him and would be the godly friend that he needed, as well as be the godly friend that someone else needed.

To conclude this "movie", I'd say that God for sure answered that prayer, and he even was nice enough to rope me in there too!

Until next time friends,