I am an only child. I think I’ve said that somewhere over the past three years on this blog, but I’ll refresh your memory. And though I absolutely loved growing up a sole child, sometimes I get a prick of pain in my heart when I see people around me with awesome sibling relationships.
I think this is one reason why I attempt to give my all to my friendships. For me, if I reach the point in a friendship where I view you as family, then that’s that — I will fight to the death for you. However, to have someone return that treatment is something completely different. To have someone who looks out for you, advises you, laughs with you, and protects you as if you’re part of their own clan… that’s when you consider that person a sibling as well.
And that is what my friend Josh is to me. He is my brother.
So when G and I became engaged, we decided to do something very nontraditional to honor this guy who has been my brother for over a decade — we asked him to be not only a groomsman in our wedding but also my Man of Honor.
Josh and I met back in 2007 while working at the local Dairy Queen. With my amazingly quick wit (*smile*) and his joking personality, we hit it off right away and quickly became good friends. We have almost four years worth of DQ stories in our friendship, much to the chagrin of his wife, Courtney, who has been forced to relive them with us countless times. (Truly, she’s a saint.)
After DQ, Josh and I both went on to become Western Michigan Broncos. It took me a year to decide to move to Kalamazoo knowing I’d be stuck close to him again (*another smile*), but following a lot of counseling from my parents, school advisers, and even Josh himself I decided to transfer prior to my sophomore year.
It was one of the best decisions of my life.
Western became like a home to me, and I was blessed to have such an amazing friend on campus. Though I did not see him every day, we made a habit to get together for hockey games and the occasional football game. We celebrated birthdays together and sometimes holidays like New Years or Halloween. If one thing was certain, when we would hang out there was sure to be plenty of laughs.
Western also offered more than laughs in our friendship though. Both of our hearts were broken while we were in college. It’s a horrible thing to watch your friend suffer through their first heartbreak. Yet, by the time graduation rolled around, we were both stronger and wiser people due to the circumstances. Personally, I know part of my own strength was borrowed from Josh during that time — he was someone I had to lean on for support. He was also some necessary laughter required to keep me sane. Actually, he became one of the first people I would turn to during any of my tough breakups. There is no cure like a joke from Josh to wipe away hurt and tears.
Following graduation, there was a fear Josh and Courtney might move away which meant our friendship might take a decline — something which simply happens with distance and growing older. Fortunately, though, he moved back to our hometown to begin his career.
As we waited for Courtney to graduate and move here as well, our friendship was able to take a more tangible form. Josh joined my trivia team on Mondays, we attended superhero movie premiers every opportunity, we had an annual pumpkin carving get-together, and I spent more time with him and Courtney hanging out in our little corner of Michigan.
Then in August 2016 I was honored to act as mistress of ceremony at Josh and Courtney’s wedding. There are simply no words for watching one of your oldest friends marry his best friend and better half. The pained tears from our past had become such happy ones!
It only made sense, then, that this person who means so much to me and who I have walked through so much in life with should have an honored position at my wedding. In reference to yesterday’s post, I definitely felt the “family trump card” was in play. Perhaps not biological, Josh is the closest thing I have to a sibling and someone I truly treasure in my life. His continued support and friendship throughout the years made my choice a no-brainer: he should be my man of honor.
Plus, I can only imagine what sort of speech he will design come the reception…
My message to Josh upon asking him (along with a fifth of Apple Pucker — our own inside joke):
“Joshua!” Even before our engagement, G and I were talking about who we wanted as a part of our wedding. We both, hands down, said, “the Dunaj’s.” But when it comes to you, Josh, simply having you as a groomsman doesn’t seem like a high enough honor to me… you are simply too much and have been so much to me over the past decade. You have talked me through heartbreaks and counseled me when switching colleges, you’ve been my comic relief countless times and a sounding board more times than I can thank you for. You’ve been an amazing friend, and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever be able to express how much you mean to me than to say — you’re my brother. You’re family.
So… to my only Catholic friend (this is HUGE!), my fellow superhero nerd, my old DQ colleague, the guy who has gotten me through so much in the past ten years, and the closest thing I have to a brother… will you be our Man of Honor (and groomsman)?
… which basically means we want you to wear a pink suit and give a speech. Nothing more.
Upon asking my girls to be my bridesmaids, one of whom is Courtney, and now having Josh as my man of honor, I almost feel like I might not faint with nervousness come my wedding day. But I suppose only time will tell on that front.