When Emily Leehan, a Senior Airman in the US Air Force, tied the knot with Marine Sgt. Josh Newville last week, she didn’t just get a husband—she got a new son, Gage, Josh’s 4-year-old from a previous marriage.
Second marriages and new step parents can often be a strange adjustment for children, so many mixed parents try to make their wedding a special day for their kids as well. Emily and Josh had a great idea to work Gage into the ceremony:
Emily prepared beautiful, heartwarming vows for her new stepson.
Since she was marrying into his life as much as her husband’s, it seemed only fitting.
“I want you to be safe, and to try your hardest to be a good person,” she begins reading at the altar.
But she only gets that far before Gage breaks down into tears, overcome with emotion at his new mother’s words.
“Don’t cry, baby,” Emily tells him.
As his dad comforts him, Emily continues and gives Gage some words to remember through any rough patches they may have in the years ahead, reminding him she will always have his best interests at heart:
“I know that you and I will butt heads…but I hope that, with all my heart, that as you become a grown man you will understand my methods and realize that I have only done what is best for you, and that I love you.”
“The last thing that I hope you learn is that you are a very special boy,” she continues, face to face with her new son. “You are so extremely smart, handsome and kind to others.”
She finishes her speech by thanking him for being part of her life:
“You have helped shape me into the woman I am today.”
“I may not have given you the gift of life, but life surely gave me the gift of you.”
Emily told the Huffington Post that Gage’s emotional reaction “meant everything,” and explained that she couldn’t help but laugh throughout it.
“If I didn’t giggle I probably would have sobbed and not been able to finish,” she said. “I wanted to make sure he heard everything I had to say and that he knows how much I love him.”
Everyone agreed, Gage was the star of the show.
“We were telling him, ‘You did awesome,’ and our family and friends were saying that and told him he made it even better,” Josh told ABC News.
Not only that, he was also the star of the reception. A big fan of Star Wars, Gage entered the party wearing a Darth Vader mask—and proceeded to tear up the dance floor, as seen in a video by Inside Edition.
But the best part of this story is that Emily and Gage seem to have a genuine love and bond already as the new marriage begins. The three of them really are the model of a healthy step-family.
“It’s just been really an awesome experience to show the world how a blended family can work, and how you can make it a positive thing for your child,” Emily told Inside Edition.
Even Gage’s biological mother is supportive of the union, writing the top comment on the viral wedding video:
“I couldn’t have picked someone better. Gage is lucky to have her and I’m so thankful I can trust her to be there when I cannot be!”
According to The Daily Mail, both parents are still active in their military service and could not go on a honeymoon. But hopefully they’ll all be together and home soon.
Congratulations to the whole family!