A name I swore I'd never forget.

For those of you who may not know, middle names are VERY important to me. Names, overall, matter a great deal. But, middle names? Nah, those are my thing.

One middle name in particular is special. No, it's not the middle name of my brother, or my grandmother. Not the name of my favorite cousin, or current best friend. (those all are important to me btw.) It's the name of a precious dear one whom I met my freshman year of highschool. A girl who was kind, and dorky, and very very tall. She was a self-titled Book Dragon, and a fellow fan-girl of Marvel. She was the closest thing I think I'll get to having a little sister. We met in a book club at school. She had no one to sit with at lunch. I had an open-lunch-table policy. The rest is history.

So, why am I talking about this person whom I've only named via middle name? Because she got married, and I got to photograph it. Because she graduated, and I got to photograph it. Because she was the truest friend to my brother growing up, and I got to photograph it.

Because I love her.

Forgive me if I cry while writing this...

But I am quite the sentimental little lady, and you can't actually see me. So, there. She's always just been there. A ray of sunshine in some pretty dark moments. Loyal to the end. Emotional, cheerful, childlike, and a true woman of God. She always gave the best hugs, and the sweetest gifts. She also had a habit of throwing up when we went on vacations, and singing Disney songs really loudly.

She was and is my friend.

Growing up together, She, my brother, and I would talk about our weddings all. the. time. What we wanted them to look like, who would be at the wedding, our first dance, the send-off, and that happily-ever-after we all looked forward to. She is the first one to actually get married. I knew what she wanted in a wedding years ago, would it hold up? Uhhhh....yeah for sure! The tangled soundtrack, the colors, the father/daughter dance, the bridal party. As much as could be the same, her dream wedding, happened.

Was I in the bridal party? No. But, was i there all day for every moment? YES! My experience is that sometimes the photographer gets more time with the bride and groom than the bride and groom get alone with each other. I got to spend the entire day with my dear little sister. I got to get up-close and personal during the ceremony. Capture the tears falling from her eyes as her husband lovingly sang to her. Had the best seat in the house to the best father/daughter dance I've ever seen. I got to see the first look between her and her actual brother. If the devil was tempted to make me feel like I missed out on something, he epically failed. (like he always will) I couldn't have been more honored or blessed to be the photographer for such a special couple.

I laughed. I cried. It really was a wonderful day.

I got to be front and center for the proposal, too. I took the pictures, lol. I got to crawl on my hands and knees to get to his backyard and wait behind a bush full of bees from him to walk her around the corner and ask that one special question that changes lives forever. "Will you Marry me?"

I was there when she graduated highschool. The hug her dad gave her, the pride in his eyes for his daughter. The words of joy her mom spoke over her, for all to hear, tears glistening in their eyes. The passing off of the diploma. The screaming and cheering from an entire fleet of people who loved her because she loved them. The tossing of the hat as she stood with my brother, congratulating one another on FINALLY graduating highschool. I got to photograph all that, too.

The first time she put on a wedding dress? Yep. I was in one, too. We strut our stuff on the catwalk for a bridal show together. I got to be a part of that. I got to share that fun with her. Getting our hair and makeup done, meeting new people, holding bouquets. I was there.

She was there for our first time at Silverwood. Rode all the coasters with us, laughed with us, screamed, and went down giant water slides (nearly tipping over rafts in the process).

She was there for all of my brother's mishaps. Broken hearts, betrayal, victories, competitions, birthdays, and a lazy Friday night playing a scary video game.

She was there when I graduated. Gave me big hugs, celebrated my accomplishments, ate ice-cream.

She was there whenever my brother and i could invite a friend, but had to agree on who we invited. We both loved her. We both enjoyed our time with her. She was always the obvious choice. Taking her on vacations up until her final weeks as an un-betrothed lady. She was there when we did our own version of the polar plunge, when my Oma told stories of her childhood, when the monopoly game lasted into the wee hours of the night. She was there for kayaking, and ZEKETV videos, and decorating the Christmas tree.

She was there when I needed a model for an assignment when I was in photography school.

She was there when I got sick. She was there when she had money for coffee. She was there when I needed prayer.

She was there. I could only hope to be there for her when it mattered most the way she was always there for me.

And now, she's married. She's living that happily-ever-after we dreamed of so long ago. She's got her husband, the man of her heart. She has a little blessing on the way now, too. A beautiful reflection of the love of two wonderful people set to arrive in June. I hope I get to be there for that, too.

I'm so glad I memorized that "difficult" middle name all those years ago.

It's come to mean more to me than I can properly put into words. I hope this post helps, but I don't think it truly does it justice.

She is my dear one, and I hope I am hers. I hope she knows how much I love and adore her, how I pray for her, how I wish nothing but joy for her. I hope she knows I can't wait to know her husband better, to pray for him, and love him like a true friend.

I love you KK(W)G.

I hope you have the best happily-ever-after EVER.

A Video I made to celebrate her Bridal Shower.