I want to start by saying thank you. Thank you for raising the son that you did. For teaching him what is important, how to manage his money, to invest in his marriage and to care for his family. Thank you for welcoming me into your family without really knowing me, without expectations or demands, although I wasn’t really sure you liked me at first. Our initial meeting left me confused and unsure what to think because you didn’t ask me any questions. I wasn’t sure if you were interested in getting to know me at all. Come to find out later, you really wanted to ask me questions but didn’t want to scare me away since I was the only girlfriend your son had ever introduced you to. Six years later I’m still here, so I guess it worked.
Over the course of my spaced out visits, you showed me your heart by the way you welcomed me, let me bake one of my childhood desserts for Thanksgiving without judgment, gave me a very speechless Christmas gift, and the space to not feel crowded but included at the same time. You always made it clear how happy you were to have me around. Once I moved to Chattanooga, you still kept your distance and didn’t overwhelm me with dates and gatherings. I appreciate that. You saw that I was someone who was more reserved and needed time to open up, but remained constant and available for when I would come to you.
As time went on I became more comfortable with you. Learning and seeing more of your heart. When I became pregnant with our first child, you lived just down the street from work so I could visit during lunch. When I got the news that she possibly had Down syndrome, you were at my work within minutes of me calling or texting you. You left whatever you were doing to be with me at that time. When it came time for her to arrive, you sat at the hospital for hours only to see her for a few minutes at 2am. You comforted and cared for me during labor when your son needed to step out. You came over once a week to give me a day away even though she screamed at you every time until she turned six months. Even now, two years and two more kids later, you still come over to help weekly when possible.
You graciously stepped aside for me, giving up your role of caring for and worrying about your son. You now support and care for him in other ways. You care for our marriage by watching the kids for date nights or a few days at a time so that we can have some much needed time away to focus on us. You support and care by loving on the grandkids through your time and helping with tangible needs. You give a listening ear and advice when I need it. You support my baking business by spreading the word and believing in my skill with your purchases. You drove me and the kids almost 12 hours last summer so that I wouldn’t have to make the drive to my parents’ on my own, all without complaint.
You give selflessly of yourself to your family, church and community. You love hard because you genuinely care for and about others. You forgive endlessly and show grace constantly. You do this all without expecting anything in return. You do it all without burden because Christ loved you first and you display that love to others. I look forward to the years ahead that we have together and the relationship it will build. I am thankful and blessed to call you family. Thank you for all you have done, do, and will do.