Friday, November 4, 2016

After The Wedding Film: Lauren Weseman

 "Marry the man that wakes up ten minutes early to cook you breakfast so that you can get a little more sleep. Marry the man that makes you laugh, even when you want to cry. Marry the man who puts the biggest smile on your kid's face. Most importantly, marry the man that will be your teammate in this life and next. Life is too short to spend it with someone who loves only part of you."
~ Lauren Weseman

 When I filmed Lauren and Michael's wedding in 2014 at the Santa Fe River Ranch, it was only the second time that I had filmed at the Ranch and as Jeff and I unpacked the gear from the car, I was in awe of the endless stretches of green and the golden, misty sunlight. This was the first time I had filmed at the Lodge where the girls got ready and I could feel the selfish-excitement of how gorgeous this was all going to look on film. As the girls got ready, there was a vibrant mood in the air of love and joy mixed with the grief that Lauren was dealing with, over the passing of her mother. I filmed her tattoo of angel wings on her shoulder, knowing it meant something special but not knowing at the time just how special it was.

 I have filmed hundreds of weddings and being so consumed with the technical aspects, I generally focus exclusively on monitoring the audio quality and getting the perfect shots. But at Lauren's ceremony I found myself hearing the words of the vows and wiping my tears as I filmed.

Recently, I watched this video and I wondered where Lauren and Michael were now. I messaged Lauren on Facebook to say hello, and I asked her if she could help with this blog series by sharing her thoughts about life leading up to her wedding day, and by offering a glimpse into married life afterwards.

Here are Lauren's words:

Michael and I have known each other for about 17 years. We went to the same church group growing up, and attended grade school together. Michael came back into my life at a time where I felt hopeless. At this point in my life, I had just gotten out of an eight year relationship, and I was losing my Mother to a long lasting battle with Carcinoid Cancer. My Mom was not only my parent, but she was my best friend. What person would want to come in at this point of anyone’s life? Who would want to deal with the emotional baggage I had to carry for years to come?  Michael came in and stood beside me and wiped away my tears. First it was as a good friend, and then as so much more. ​

To this day, I remember the day he asked me to be his girlfriend. He knocked on my door with the most beautiful bouquet of flowers. I remember opening the door and saying, “They are beautiful. Thank you!” He looked at me and said, “I have someone I need to go give these to”. Needless to say, I got in the car with him as he pulled up to my parents’ house. At this point in time, my Mother was slowly declining in health and could hardly get the strength to sit up and talk. We knocked on the door, and Michael walked right over to her with the flowers. I remember the look on her face. She knew. He knew. This was the man of my dreams, and with hardly one word, he was telling my Mom that he would always take care of me. My mom lost her battle to cancer a couple days after. Never one to not put up a fight, my mom fought until she couldn’t fight anymore. This was one of the most important days of my life. It was in that moment that I knew this was going to spend the rest of my life with this man.

Michael and I got married at the Beautiful Santa Fe River Ranch. I remember that moment as I walked down the aisle. I was so nervous! Would I trip in my shoes? Does my hair look okay? Will my pictures look good? Then I saw Michael. I’ll never forget that feeling. We locked eyes, and I felt at home.  It was so very important to Michael and me not to just have a day about the two of us, but about the people who had brought us to this point in life. We wanted to make sure our pastor addressed our family and friends to show the gratitude we had for all they had done for us. Thank them for helping us make us into the people we are today. We wanted to not only thank them, but to ask for the future support of our marriage. I remember the moment the pastor started talking about my Mom. I just stood there and kept my eyes on Michael. I knew she was there right by my side that day. She wouldn’t miss it for the world.

After Michael and I got married, we started building our dream home. Whoever thinks starting a marriage with building a house is a good idea, needs to probably rethink that idea! Do you know people cry over paint colors? Well, apparently I do. While it was a testing process, it was so nice to be able to start our marriage in our own house. We started our family out with a new Golden Retriever puppy named Tucker, and enjoyed life as newlyweds. Our free days were spent at the Beach, Football games, and spending time with friends. We did not have a care in the world.

Our carefree life ended the day we had our son, Brantley. It is so amazing to me how in that moment, your life truly changes forever. I never knew I had the capacity to love something as much as I love my son. The amazing thing is, I feel like my love for him grows daily. Being a Mom is something I had always wanted-I just never knew how much it would change me. Life is not always easy. I sometimes feel like I am failing. There was a point where I had to tell myself it was okay to not be perfect. It was okay for the floor to be dirty. It was okay for my body to not look and feel the way it used to. There is not a day when I would say it is easy, but there is never a day would I would say it wasn’t worth it.

At the end of the day, I pray that I can be the best mom I can be. I pray Brantley grows up to be a good person. I pray he respects others, and loves those around him. There are so many days where I just have to ask God to take over. I ask him to take over my worries, and help protect my family. Faith is one of the many things I have gained after having a child. Not only do I feel like I know the unconditional love of a parent, I now know the helpless feeling of raising a child. I do the absolute best I can to protect him, and the rest I give to God. Being a Type A personality, it is hard letting go sometimes. I have learned that I have to put my trust in God.

The advice I give to people who are looking to get married, is to marry your partner. Marry the man that wakes up ten minutes early to cook you breakfast, so that you can get a little more sleep. Marry the man that makes you laugh, even when you want to cry. Marry the man, who puts the biggest smile on your kids face. Most importantly, marry the man that will be your teammate in this life and next. Life is too short to spend it with someone who loves part of you. I thank God every day for putting this man into my life. He is the man that loves every piece of my imperfections, and makes me want to be a better human being. He’s my person, and I am his.

Thank you Lauren, Michael and Brantley!

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