Dear Rich and Janet,
Your presence in my life inspires gratitude beyond my ability to express. I hope this letter can give you a glimpse of what you mean to me and what a blessing it is to be your daughter-in-law.
First and foremost is my gratitude for the son you raised and who became my husband. I could sing Andy’s praises all day long, but I recognize that many of his character strengths come from the examples you set as you raised him. I think of your influence on him particularly when I see his humble approach to dealing with others and his generous spirit towards those in need, because these are characteristics I recognize in both of you as well. Thank you for sculpting him into a man worthy of respect and able to lead his family in love and righteousness.
My coming to be your daughter-in-law happened at a time in my life that was full of mixed emotions – joy and sadness, hope and fear, delight and mourning. By navigating through planning a wedding around my dying mom and making my family feel welcome and loved during such a vulnerable time, you set the stage for me to feel safe and comforted in your company. You bent over backwards to accommodate all that was going on, and for that I am so grateful – I truly cherish the time surrounding my wedding, and I thank you for being a part of it.
Now, over thirteen years later, I love the grandparents you are to my son. The phone conversations we hear one side of but know you are the perfect listening grandma; the inclusion of Jansse in a trip to the Fire Hole or Hebgan Lake for fishing; the opportunity for Jansse to learn to have conversations with adults – proper handshakes, looking you in the eye when he speaks to you; these all bring me great joy! I will always remember the evening hiking along Squaw Creek, picnicking on the water, with Jansse and Grandma fly fishing. It was a wonderful opportunity to share an interest in fly fishing – passed down in our family through Grandpa for all of us to enjoy! Thank you for engaging with Jansse, for not allowing the distance to detract from the relationship.
There are so many specific occasions we have shared together that say so much about who you are to me: the opportunity to live in your home for almost a year, sharing meals and conversation; sitting in the movie theater next to Janet sobbing over Stepmom; Janet accompanying me to the IVF transfer that eventually brought us Jansse; watching football games with Rich; having the privilege of taking your photographs. These are all little activities that allow us to connect, and what a blessing that connection is to me!
On this occasion of your 50th Anniversary, I also thank you for the example of marriage you give to Andy, Jansse and me. Fifty years is a long time for any two people to be married, and there is no doubt in my mind that there have been times of great joy and contentment, but also opportunities to work through challenges. Thank you for living out the commitment to each other – it is inspiring!