(On our Wedding day: September, 2009)
The tongue-in-cheek comment that is second most likely to be heard when one gets engaged (second, of course to a good natured "Goodbye, freedom!") is, "You're really marrying the family, too, ya know. Hope you like 'em." ... And whenever people told me that, I just smiled because, the thing is: I do.
Ron & Christy, my father & mother-in law, are fantastic.Warm & welcoming, they made me feel like I was a part of the family well before I married into it. I am honored and blessed to be their daughter-in-law.
One of the most valuable things that I have learned from Jon is what it's like to have your family close to you, and what it really means to put them first. I don't mean in any way that I was anti-family before I met & married my husband, but when you grow up seeing your relatives twice a year like I did (more if we were lucky!), you don't really understand what it's like to be able to care for & be there for each other physically... to be able to gather for the non-major holidays and birthdays; to celebrate love and being together.
Some of my favorite family memories from the past few years are of sitting around the dining room table after dinner and laughing together. I just feel so relaxed and authentic when I am around them... it's easy for me to forget that I haven't always been there. I feel that with this new family of mine, who welcomed me with the utmost grace & open arms, another piece of my life's puzzle has locked comfortably into place. I know I belong in this family, and Ron & Christy are at the heart of that.
Of course, I would be untruthful if I didn't say that the biggest thing I am grateful to Ron & Christy for is giving me Jon. As we settle into married life together, I find that one of my greatest delights is really uncovering Jon's heart... what makes him tick... where he is deeply rooted and why he reacts the way he does. And finding these things makes me fall even more deeply in love with him: his values, his compassion, his work ethic. ... All wonderful things that I know he learned from example; from his mother and father. As I begin to think about having children of my own, I grasp more and more the beautiful burden and sacred responsibility that raising a child is. To be entrusted with the care & upbringing of a little soul is (and forgive me, this is so NOT eloquent:) huge, but largely a thankless job-- and good parents deserve to be celebrated.
So today I thank you, Ron & Christy, for all that you have done for us; for all that you have taught both Jon & myself about building & sustaining the love of a family. I look forward to many, many more wonderful years together, filled with beautiful memories.
Happy Birthday to you both, with much love.
(Christy, 3/4; Ron, 3/25)