celebrating a son-in-law

This is part of a series wishing happy birthday to my adult children. The grandkids will have to wait a year.

When John married my daughter, I had some reservations. I expect every father does.

We still disagree on some very important things, although I have forgiven him for breaking my toe, dropping my daughter’s hope chest on it. And I have learned to love him.

It’s not because he is a Dallas Cowboys fan. I have to pause a moment to remember what sport they play. My kids are all artists, not athletes and his passion about sports took a little getting used to.

No, it’s not that we have shared interests. Except for one. He loves my daughter as much as I do. Maybe more. He wants her to be well cared for and he works hard to do it.

Like every couple, they had much to learn about managing a household and a budget. Yet even when our daughter disagrees with him we have encouraged her to honor him. That is part of our job. (See a grandfather’s manifesto.)

And even when I’ve disagreed with him, he has respected me, although I work hard not to be too free with my advice. He pretty much has to ask for it.

Respecting me was the part I expected to be hard for him, since it’s hard for him to respect his own dad. This is no place to recount the many failures of his father. (Or of his father-in-law, for that matter.)

But I worried from the beginning about what effect that poor model would have on his ability to cherish my daughter and to raise their children.

I’m no longer worried. If anything, he over compensates. His gifts to her are thoughtful. His care for his two sons is evident. When a camping trip was cancelled at their church recently, he set up a tent in the living room and slept on the floor to comfort a distraught four year old. (He writes about it here.) He is preparing himself for their future, entering a graduate program this fall.

He may not have had a model for this. But he has a heart for it.

So today, on his birthday, I want my favorite (only) son-in-law to know that he is loved. And with his anniversary coming up in a couple of weeks he is honored.

We celebrate the day(s) of course.

But more than that we celebrate him.

Other posts in this series:

Happy Birthday, Princess, Margaret

A daughter-in-law of delights, Ann

three birthday wishes for Christian, son

So here’s to Katie, wife

be that guy, me

2 thoughts on “celebrating a son-in-law”

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