As someone who grew up as the sole girl in a family otherwise full of brothers, there was nearly always a group of boys filling up the basement of my parents’ house when we were younger. Over the years, my brothers’ friends became a sort of extended family to us, and it felt far more normal to see their shoes lined up next to our doorway than to not.
Watching them grow up and become men was a sort of bonus feature that I hadn’t anticipated as a kid – while I knew I looked forward to seeing my own brothers come into their own, I didn’t realize seeing their friends do the same would be so affecting. Joey and my brother, Erick, first met and became friends in fifth grade, which means I have known Joey for over half of my life. When he was younger, he was often more reserved – not out of shyness, necessarily, but rather because he simply maintained a quiet-yet-polite manner. So when we began his and Amanda’s engagement session and I immediately saw a gigantic smile across his face and heard their mutual laughter, I knew that the guy I had known for more than half of our lives had found a woman who helped bring out the best of his passion and joy. He and Amanda share a desire for helping others – she as a pediatric nurse, he as a paramedic and firefighter. They incorporated these passions into their session, which I loved, and as a whole hanging out with them was just easy – there was a ton of giggling and sweetness, and even an unexpected sunset to top it all off.