I met the man who would become my father-in-law 37 years ago.
It’s been said that first impressions are lasting impressions – good or bad, they often affect how we see and interact with an individual later on.
The man who would receive the designation “Hubby” wanted me to meet his family – and for them to meet me.
To say that I was nervous would be an understatement. Would they like me? Would I like them? Could we mesh and work as one?
The man who knew them best assured me they would love me as he did and that I should just be myself.
(Ha ha ha ha…be…my…self.)
When we arrived at his parent’s house I was greeted with open arms and a fair amount of curiosity. The curiosity I expected, the immediate open arms…I didn’t.
I immediately became “Ms Suzan” and they became “Mom” and “Dad” – terms of endearment that exist to this day.
What did I find as I watched the man who would become my father-in-law?
I saw a gentleman, a protective and loving father, the ruler of his family, provider, pastor, fisherman, carpenter, gardener, mechanic, giver, a merciful and gracious man, quick to forgive, stern in opinion, devoted to family, sacrificial, determined, strong, good natured, fun-loving, an honest and humble man who lived his life to please God and care for his family.
This man opened his heart and arms to me and I became daughter #2. He loved me. He corrected me. He teased me. He scolded me. He advised me. And, at times he locked horns with me (that’s what happens when two hard-heads disagree sometimes).
I lost my wonderful father-in-law in February of this year. And, I still grieve for him. Both of my dads are gone now – what a huge hole their departure left in my heart and life.
When I first met Dad I had no idea of the impact he would have on my life – and, in his absence, the impact he still has.
He was quick to love and even quicker to forgive. He was the Dad of the second chance – any of his children can tell you that.
Today marks the 85th celebration of Dad’s birth.
Happy birthday, Dad! Thank you for loving me and for welcoming me into your family as one of your children. I am indeed blessed! I love you! And, I miss you. Happy birthday!