I’d like to talk to you about titles.

As you probably know by now, I’m known simply as “The Boyfriend” in the Shader-Smith family … an illustrious title, but it was not always this way. It took me a while to earn it.

It’s safe to say that I am the newest member of the inner circle of the Mallory Smith fan club. I’ve worked hard to earn a place in that circle. Along the way, I’ve held many titles.

Diane reminded me of a story earlier this week of when Mallory and I were first courting. Mallory and Diane were on the phone together and Diane asked who was coming to visit Mallory in the hospital that day.

“Becca, Michelle, Ari, and… Somebody”, she said…Somebody. Awesome. Humble beginnings, clearly.

Soon after that I ranked up to the next level, attaining titles which contained the word “boy” in them, for whatever reason. “The new boy”. Or for short “the boy”. I even heard “boy of the moment”… Really guys? I know she’s popular, but, come on now.

Soon after that I peeked again, this time attaining the title of “Mule”… When Mallory travels, in addition to the already massive array of clothing and garments she insists on bringing, a theme shared by some un-named members of her family…

*look towards Shader-Smith family*

…she also had to bring with her enough medicine and portable treatment devices to last her a week. Let me be clear here, when I say “she had to bring all this stuff”, really itmeant that “I had to bring all of this stuff” for her… maybe some of you can relate to this. Maybe not.

I appreciated every moment of the process.

Finally, I made it to the title of “The Boyfriend”. I worked hard for that title. I’d like to keep it that way, if that’s alright withyou guys.

My parents are here tonight. I think they feel in love withMal from day one too. I’m so grateful for their support in the past and present, and that they’re here now.

I grew up an only child, with an amazing childhood. However, I never had a sibling to call Brother, or Sister.

That changed this week, because I gained a brother, in Micah. That is a title which I also hope you let me keep.

Diane and Mark; I know that you did not give birth to me, my parents are responsible for that one, but although I’ll neverbe your son, I always hope to be part of the family.

I’m honored to hold these titles. However, when it came to Mallory, I’ve known for some time now that the title of Boyfriend would never be enough.

Fiancé. Husband. Father.

These were my penultimate goals with Mallory.

We shared many of our dreams with each other, Mal and I. She knew that her body would likely not be able to bear children. Despite that, we both still wanted kids. I told her of the image, forever burned into my dreams, of Mal and I; one arm around each-other, the other arm around a child, one each, on our hips. She said that that would be lovely. She would have been the greatest Mother…

I’ve thought a lot about life this week – about the future Mal and I would have had – about the love we shared – the dreams that will no longer be realized together.

Many people have told me recently that I’m a good man… Incredible, extraordinary, even. I am not deserving of such titles… or at least, I am certain that I would not be, were it not for meeting Mallory. She’s the one that brought out the best in me; She’s the one, that brought out the best in the best in everyone.

In my eyes, my only extraordinary moment was just my extraordinary luck; to find someone as beautiful, as kind, as selfless, as perfect, as Mallory Beatrice Smith.

Diane once asked me, “When you first met Mallory, did you even know what you were getting into??”

No, God no.

“Given what I know now, would I do it all again?”

*Lengthy Pause*

The answer is yes, a thousand times, yes! Thank you all so much.