An Open Letter to My Mother-In-Law on Father’s Day

I remember praying for my future husband. A starry-eyed preteen sending a laundry list of hopes up to Heaven from a room drowning in pastel purples and Relient K posters. I didn’t know it then, but you were raising the man of my dreams.

I didn’t know that the ocean-eyed boy I would fall in love with under the Summer sun was one day the curly-headed baby on your hip.

I didn’t know that the same teenaged boy that spent many a Summer night counting shooting stars above the salty shore with me was once the same baby boy you taught to crawl then walk then run.

I didn’t know that the young man I would dream big dreams with on the tailgate of his pickup to the soundtrack of classic rock and the cicada’s serenade was once the little boy who brought you treasured dandelion bouquets.

I didn’t know him when he was small and fresh and full of new life…

But I do know the way that a mother’s heart is forever plagued with the worrisome thought of whether she is doing right by her children.

I think of my own ambitions as I find myself in the midst of raising a little boy…

And I want to tell you that I see you, sweet momma.

You, with all your expectant hopes and dreams for your new baby boy.

I wasn’t there when you were instilling in him the virtues of working hard for what he wants and never giving up on something… or someone you believe in.

I didn’t know that one day, that someone would be me.

I didn’t know that those virtues were largely inspired by a season of watching you work two jobs as a single mother, to provide for your family.

I didn’t know that the framework for his respect for me was built from the great respect he has for you, his mother.

I didn’t know that his ability to see the best in things (a gift that has always inspired this anxious heart to have a little more faith) was born from a love fierce enough to give him the confidence to do anything. And because of that, I’ve seen him accomplish anything he’s set his mind to.

So as the sun sets on this day, and as I reflect on the husband and father that I am so proud of, I think its only fitting to reflect on the woman that nurtured him into the man he is now.

I know there must have been nights that you lost sleep over him, prayed over him, maybe shed a few anxious tears in the hopes that your efforts to guide a young man’s wild heart would not be lost.

I’m here to tell you that those precious moments of anguish in a young mother’s spirit were not wasted in the least.

You raised the kind of man that cares about my favorite kind of flowers and when to bring them home.

You raised a man who calls me his turtle dove because he heard somewhere that they choose a mate for life.

You raised the kind of man that has never lost touch with his inner child. He’s as ornery as the day is long but with a heart of gold, and those that love him wouldn’t have it any other way.

You raised a man that is passionate about me pursuing my dreams and living up to my God-given potential. You raised a man who believes in me and prays for me.

You raised a man who honors his wife and teaches his children to honor their mother. He is Christ’s tender and enduring love for me personified.

You raised a dreamer, an adventurer, a teacher, a minister, a creative genius.

You raised my best friend.

You raised a man with endurance. A man who can stand the test. A man who has encountered more than his fair share of hardships but presses on despite them all. A man who has held me up while I nurse the fresh wound of losing my mother, all the while reliving the loss of his own father.

You raised a man who aspires to make beauty from pain. A man who can put his dreams aside for someone with a greater need. A man who fathers children he does not share DNA with and never balks at the thought of it.

A man with a heart that is sensitive and obedient to the whisperings of his Heavenly Father.

I guess this overflow of the heart is all to say “thank you.”

Thank you for playing part in a heavenly scheme that is bigger than the both of us. Thank you for raising the man of that little preteen’s dreams before she even knew what to ask for.

Thank you for raising your little ocean-eyed, curly-haired boy up right.

And thank you for letting him go.

I hope that one day, I can do the same for my boy.

I love you, mom.

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