GUYS! I'm so, so, so, SO excited to share with you a beautiful post written by a dear friend of mine. I've mentioned having guest writers on here before but now it's finally happening. YAS QUEEN! This is great because I want my blog to reach out to a large demographic while covering a wide range of topics so if you know anyone who wants to share their thoughts or a piece of work, let me know! Okay, moving on ... there are certain moments in our life whether they last for a second, a minute or even a whole day that ingrain themselves permanently into our minds. Today, Emily Gebhart, is going to share one of these moments for her (CAN WE PLEASE APPRECIATE HOW BEAUTIFUL HER PHOTOS ARE!? Her info is here: www.daniellabeanphotography.com) Okay, I'm done.
Multiple distinct moments in my life have woven together over time, leading me to where I am today. These moments are grouped into chapters with clear beginnings and distinct ends. The most recent chapter of my life began on June 3rd, 2017, when I married my best friend, Matt Gebhart.
It was a personal goal of mine to start a journal after getting married. Remembering all of life’s moments is difficult so I wanted to aid the mind by documenting everything. Well, let’s just say I never got around to it so here I am, 2 months later, writing about it in a blog post to forever hold a place on the internet.
To my now husband (Matt) and I, getting married meant a lot of things for our family. For those who don’t know us, we’ve always done thing backwards—taboo some would say—well, at least according to society. Let’s see, first we had two amazing children together Gwen and Brantley. One was a COMPLETE surprise and the other was the lucky child to be planned. Thankfully, not following the “order of things” has never bothered us. In fact, when others asked us the cliche questions of: “When will you get married?” “When will you make an honest man out of Matt?” “When this?” “When that?” We’d look at each other and laugh. But now, after joining the Gebhart family, and gaining a sense of wholeness, these questions don’t seem as silly.
So, I wonder, maybe it actually meant more to me to be married than I realized. Maybe the excitement in which my daughter, Gwen, said to me, “Mommy will this mean you’ll finally have the same last name as me?” held more validity than I knew. Everything my daughter does is filled with passion and compassion, and to hear her excitement made this journey real. Maybe, just maybe, I really did want marriage to complete this next step in my life. It was a pleasant surprise the way a measly piece of paper made me feel when I saw my first name, complimented by a new last name, on it. How easily we can fool ourselves into thinking tangible objects hold no true power. Now that it’s all said and done, I can say confidently, “this is OUR new life.” Let’s rewind for a moment though, and backtrack through to the actual day.
Looking back, I didn’t realize the weight of what we agreed to do when I was in the planning process. Seating charts, wedding dresses, little white bows and endless material items for a wedding, tend to masque the real idea behind marriage. And whelp, it did (whoops)! Let’s be honest, IT’S FUN choosing all of the little details that will make your day special. The notion of dreaming of your perfect wedding as a child seems taboo until you’re actually doing it. But then it finally becomes a tangible form of reality and when that final week is upon you, you get a moment to think, “this is really happening!” Then when you’re standing up at the altar with the love of your life in front of you and all the tiny details around you, you remember the REAL reason you’re getting married. As waves of emotions come crashing down on you and the brief moments of earlier panic subside, you internalize the vows being said to one another. This is the sanctity of marriage. This is what’s real and what we’ll remember. Not those tiny details, not that we missed one vase of flowers on the right side of the aisle, not that our cupcakes were melting ... but these words, the feelings coming over us, the swelling of our hearts and the room it was making for yet another amazing milestone in our lives.
For me though, it all came to head somewhere around the time when I was putting my wedding dress on before the ceremony. At that moment, it became bigger than just “Matt and I’s” wedding. It was bigger than my guests, the kids, and the cake.
I thought to myself, “My mother is helping me into my dress and her wonderful hands are fastening the delicate buttons. Our relationship is flashing before my eyes. I wonder what she must be thinking. Mother and daughter who have fought, cried, loved, and laughed together. I hope she doesn’t think this is some sort of ending to my childhood? Even though I’ve been an adult for some time. She’s looking at me like it’s a goodbye, but maybe it’s just pride with a hint of melancholy. We’re in this moment together and I’m sure she’s sensing my racing thoughts. But I’m glad she’s there to share this silent moment, as a mother should be because I’m standing here, putting on my wedding dress that I will wear ONE time and ONE time only. I’m about to say words to a man who I love in front of all my friends and family. It will bind us forever. We’ve had an amazing seven years together. I’m excited for what I’ve written. I want to share it with the world.”
Lost in my head, it dawned on me that there is something so powerful in realizing that all the words in the world can’t possibly verbalize what it truly means to marry Matt; and yet still, love is able to guide me.
I’d like to think I’m a pretty selfless person. Many things that I do are for the benefit of others. Whether it’s to make things easier for them, lighten their load, please them, etc. I am this way because seeing other people joyful—especially my loved ones—genuinely makes me happy. With that being said, you can image the blanket of happiness that wrapped itself around me upon seeing everyone who I’ve ever cared about, waiting for me to walk down the aisle. I know how much it meant for our family to see us married. I’m glad we could finally do that for them.
Throughout the night, I caught glimpses of my life passing by like scenes in a movie. My dad and his brothers laughing it up in the corner, those ornery Ellwood boys. My Grandma embracing one of my longest and oldest friends in the forest. The crowd that couldn’t stop smiling as my sister gave her toast. It was a perfect night filled with dozens of stolen moments that I’ll never forget. It was everything that I hoped and more.
There is a unspoken “rule” that you should be married before having children and being the old soul that I am, I too tend to have old fashioned notions. But, this chapter is an exception. If things hadn’t of happened the way they did for us—getting pregnant with Gwen, then Brantley and marriage third—then I’m not sure I would’ve ever been ready for children or a wedding. Turns out, it’s a beautiful web we weave over the years leading up to the defining moment in our lives. Our way isn’t the norm, but it lead us to the path we walked on, on our wedding day with Gwen as our flower girl and Brantley as our ring bearer. *Sidenote: How do people NOT have kids first? I HIGHLY recommend it. Screw the “rules.”*
Later, I was told that during the ceremony, Gwen was watching us say our vows with crinkled eyes and a smile spread across her face. A look of amazement and pure love that matches her soul. We actually have a picture of her in that moment.
As for Brantley, well, he may not have been as composed as Gwen being the perfect storm that he is … but, the pictures of him walking & running down the aisle are still heartwarming. How could I have done this without them? It would have never made sense. They are everything that has made Matt and I who we are today. Having them there on our day gave it so much meaning and we can relive that through them for the rest of our lives.
I know this post makes it seem that my wedding was perfect but I know that weddings can wreak havoc on the bride and groom, and oftentimes can cause issues and fights along the way. But, I feel fortunate that we kept it to a low roar. My life is not easy, I usually choose the road less traveled and I sure don’t have a lot of good luck. Matt’s luck is no better. Still our wedding was a breathtaking experience. Everything is and was as it should be. Although at peace with the lingering moments still fresh in my mind, I find myself wishing we could go back. All of the planning, late nights, sacrifices with the kids and financial stress turned out to be worth it. Gwennie got her wish, we are now a complete Gebhart unit.
Two months later, (we are still married) ha-ha. There are a lot of things we want to do and things we are planning. I was able to quit my job to be home more with the kids. It has been an absolute blessing to be home with them for the summer. I’m not sure how much we’ll be getting done on my laundry list of things to do, but, I know that whatever happens, we’ll be ready for it. Life is exciting in this new chapter. I hope to write more. I miss writing. I need to make time to do it, for me. Not to sound totally contradictory, but as busy as I said our life was, I hope to slow it down. We have our obligations, our trips and work to get in the way, but as far as daily life goes, I want to slow down and take it all in. Enjoy our time, relax, do things for each other and be grateful. Life is a beautiful thing, folks. This next chapter might not have an ending for awhile. It may be filled with plot twists, new characters, villains and personal strife's, but it will be a long and prosperous one. I am happy. I am content. I am loved.