Devin, My 24 year old younger brother (I have to stop calling him “little”) is now a married man. This past Saturday night, he and Culo, his best friend / long time girl friend / mother of his child tied the knot surrounded by a few family and friends. Very intimate wedding (that started over 2 hours late LOL). It was a very emotional moment for those of us that know the couple, their story and the history.

My brother has ALWAYS valued family. He has always desired family. Every family has a person that is the glue, for most it’s an aunt or a grandmother…for this side of my family it’s my brother Devin. He’s the only one that routinely speaks to everyone and tried to keep up to date with everyone. He and our dad aren’t great right now but chalk that up to 2 men being stubborn and nothing more. Happens all the time with fathers and sons. Aside from that, Dev is in the loop with everyone. He fights to keep us connected. It matters THAT much to him.

The great thing about his marriage is it’s an honest moment for him to build and lead the family that he desires. One thing about growing up in a split/step parent, divorced or broken home like we did is that it either ruins you (like me, where I really don’t have the natural desire to be married) or you decide to be better than it (like Devin, meaning his goal was to be a husband and lead a home).

Attending my brother’s wedding showed me his maturity and commitment to family, and it also made me realize a few things about myself:

1. I truly love and appreciate the mother’s of my children, they are just great women no other way to say it. They’ve played big sis to Devin and his wife for years regardless of my actions…and I appreciate and honor them for that.

2. I hate that I didn’t treat Cece right years ago when I was young and stupid. She looked amazing at the wedding and I kept thinking about how much I hate who I am, but I am who I am, so it is what it is.

3. My relationship with my step-mother (Devin’s mother) might have been temporary or seasonal. She was married to my dad from when I was 8-18. Those are very important years for a child to have a mother figure. I’m fortunate she played the role then and am forever grateful. Fast forward to present day, unfortunately fewer words have ever been spoken. Things felt awkward at the wedding. I’m okay with that if our season has passed. I thank God for what it once was.

4. Most importantly I finally realized that I do want this for myself one day, somehow – someway. I want to stare into the beautiful eyes of a woman….my woman, in front of God and a few friends just to tell her how much I love her; tell her I appreciate her being there for me when I was counted out;….tell her that her friendship….the laughs and inside jokes we share are priceless; thank her for loving my kids as if she gave birth to them herself; and lastly tell her I’m committed and will always be there.  

I don’t know how I’m going to get there….marriage is this beautiful destination, this theme park filled with so many great adventures. And here I am on the side of the road, with my thumb out like a hitchhiker. My shirt is torn and tattered, my jeans are filthy, the soles are falling off my shoes, my hair is uncombed and matted…I’m not even a person you want to pull over for….but after seeing what my brother just did, I’m determined to have that for myself. For now, I’ll focus on cleaning-up and just continue walking.

Beautiful photos, all moments captured by Fred Daniels III, contact him via www.justxfred.com