Tuesday, September 22, 2015

An Open Letter

It's been a long time since I've written or posted. I wrote this letter a year ago and I'm finally getting around to sharing it. Enjoy...

Dear Future Son-In-Law,

As I write this letter your future wife is “beep-bopping” in her crib. She should be taking a nap but from what I can tell, she has too much on her mind. It’s strange to call her “your wife” because she’s just barely one and, well, she still isn’t the greatest walker (she’s getting much better!) and she is still so innocent. But, she is yours and you are hers.

Right now God knows exactly where you are. Maybe you’re napping (as a good baby should!) or maybe you’re tormenting your dog much like your wife does. Or maybe my daughter will like older men and you are five years old and you’re outside enjoying the beautiful summer weather at the park or the pool.

I wish I could picture you. I have no idea what kind of boy you are or what kind of man you will be, but I’m not worried because God has that planned out. You future father-in-law tells me not to worry about the future because, “no matter what, everything will be ok”.

I’m sure you will hear this at some point, but your wife and I didn’t have the easiest start at our relationship. She knew she wanted to come out but when she got there she didn’t know what to do with herself. She didn’t breathe right away and spent the first 3 days of her life in the NICU. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to endure. After those 3 days we did OK… Until we didn’t. My first day alone with her resulted in both of us crying for about 10 hours. I was worried that I would never get the hang of this “mom” thing and we were both destined for failure. All I could do was pray and ask God to help me and give me the courage and grace to raise her. Eventually I did get the hang of things and she is currently a spirited, energetic, and a tad dramatic, 14 month old.

Since the day I found out I was pregnant with Peyton I have prayed for her mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. I had continued to pray for these things every day and will do so for the rest of my life. I pray that she is a Godly woman who can serve the Lord and make Him proud, a woman among women, if you will.

I often see lists published on the internet that contain “warnings” for future boyfriends (and don’t worry, they have them for girlfriends too). These have always given me a strange feeling as I feel slightly uncomfortable with the message they display. I’ve been where you are, in a sense. I’ve wondered how to make my new family like me better, or at all. I’ve wondered my position in my family. I’ve wondered if they thought I was just a silly girl and wasn’t the right fit for their “boys club”. I’ve felt the crazy amount of nerves flooding your body as you prepare to meet your new in laws for the first time (I met my father-in-law and brother-in-law for the first time at an airport as a surprise). I have felt every moment you are experiencing. I’m writing this because I want to help calm your nerves. I want you to know that I’m on your side because you are important.

I spent 9 months growing your wife. By the end I couldn’t even put shoes on and could barely waddle around. I got so tired of people asking me, ”How much longer?”, that I quit going out in public. Then I spent another few months getting to know her. I’ll spend the next 17 years going through the ups and downs. I will drive her to practices, recitals, try-outs, dances, and everything in between. I will have to teach her that we go potty in the toilet and it only needs to be flushed once (she’s really into flushing multiple times right now). I will have to teach her how to apply make-up and blow-dry her hair. I will have to ask her to change into something more appropriate and when she doesn’t do it, I will have to tell her. I will have to punish her when she comes home late or when she does something stupid. I will most likely sit through a million dance recitals/football games/volleyball tournaments. When she is ready to talk to me about the boy in high school who hurts her heart, I will have to lovingly listen and explain (most likely with ice cream) that sometimes boys don’t understand how hurtful they can be. I will share the story of how I hurt her father a few times but he was forgiving and continued to play for “our team” no matter what. I will prepare her for you as best as possible. As best I can.

I am not disillusioned on what my responsibility as a mother holds.I am responsible for raising a daughter to hear of the Gospel in the hopes that she will turn around and teach it and share it with others. I am responsible for raising a daughter to not only wipe her own butt, but to do it well! I am responsible for teaching my daughter to love others and serve them as best as possible. I am responsible for teaching her to respect those around her. I am responsible for raising a daughter who will grow into a woman who will love one man and raise her own children with these responsibilities. I am responsible for laying the foundation. I will hold her past, but you hold her future.

When you meet me and her father for the first time you will stand tall and strong even though you may be dying inside to reach out and hold her hand like it’s your life support. You will worry and stress about what to wear and whether the flowers you picked out for me are appropriate. You will be afraid to be 100% you and at some point will probably say/do/hear something embarrassing that will make you want to crawl in a hole and die; because honestly how could we be your in-laws?! Let me share a little secret with you…

I’m really looking forward to meeting you and I pray for you every day, even now.

Do you realize how important you are to my daughter? How vital you are in her life? I don’t simply see you as the man who will provide, protect, and unconditionally love my daughter (and the man who will grant me grandchildren - but please do that!). I look at you as the missing piece in the puzzle.

Unfortunately, moms don’t have it all figured out. We don’t raise complete children. Other people come in to our children’s lives and maybe they rough up some edges or maybe they soften some. Experiences and people change who our children grow to be. Am I afraid that you may hurt her? Absolutely. But I put my trust in God to allow you to see things clearly and make good decisions.

I pray that you are a man among men. I pray that you are a gentleman, respectful and humble. I pray that you have a servant’s heart. I pray that you know the Lord deeply and profoundly. I pray that you are a good man, in good times and bad. I pray that you take care of and love yourself. I pray that you are confident in who you are so that you can have a happy, beautiful, and blissful marriage with my daughter. You are such an important piece to the puzzle.

You will make her a better woman.
You will make her stronger.
You will make her feel things that she’s never felt before.
You will protect her and in turn heighten her urge to protect those she loves.
You will show her mercy.
You will teach her grace.
You will love her at her worst.
You will love her at her best.
You will give her the gift of becoming a mother.
You will show her how to be a great mother by being a great father.
You will look after her.
You will move mountains for her.
You will be her rock in a shifting world.
You will be her best friend.
You will her hold.
You will stand behind her.
You will stand beside her.
You will challenge her.
You will push her to be better than she was yesterday.
You will teach her intimacy.
You will love her, unconditionally.

And one day my daughter will sit with me as I wait for the Lord to take me home. As I begin to slip she will feel pain. She will stand with my body and know that I am with God but she will suffer. I am her mother. The bond is unbreakable. I am the woman who gave her life. I am the woman who taught her how to French braid. I am the woman who kissed the owies and bakes the most perfect chocolate chip cookies. I taught her how to gain and keep the respect of boys and that someone who doesn’t respect her doesn’t deserve to have her heart. I taught her how to tie her shoes. I taught her the ABCs and how to count to 100. I hold her past.

But you, future son-in-law, you hold her future.

You will experience life together. You will be her partner. You will be her best friend.

Do not be afraid of me. Do not think that I don’t love you. I love you. I love what you mean to my daughter. I love that God brought you into our lives to make her a better woman. To do things I can’t or could never do as a mother.
So today as your wife is napping I will sit and pray for you. I will do my best to raise a woman among women. A leader. And I will help her become strong, resilient, brave, loving, nurturing, and humble. A good woman.

Your Future Mother-in-Law

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