When Dan and I first got married, his mom made it a point that they weren’t my in-laws; they are my parents-in-love. I really like this description. While we are connected by law, our true connection is rooted in love.
When Dan and I were dating, it was his family that sealed the deal. I knew that I liked Dan. Then, I met his family…and I was in love. Meeting them and befriending them seemed to be the most natural thing in the world. I just felt…home.
Our first trip to Michigan was very telling. We spent a week with his family, meeting the extended family, and seeing the ‘real’ Dan. In my opinion, family is the true test. In Ames, few people really knew Dan; I wanted to see how the people who really knew this guy felt about him. It was apparent that these people really love Dan. …and not only did they love him, they value and respect him.
…and out of love and respect for Dan, they welcomed me like I was family. In fact, from they way that ALL of them (Kieslings, Rileys – everybody) welcomed me, l could tell that Dan was special to them. I also knew that they were special people, to be so warm and welcoming. In one week, I felt like I was part of the family. As we turned off of Britton Road and onto the highway, I started crying. I loved these people – and I didn’t want to be so far from people who were so good, kind, and loving.
Given that today is Father’s Day, I wanted to write a post dedicated to Dan’s side of the family, my “in-loves.” Let’s face it; given that we just moved, I cannot find all those Father’s day cards I bought in advance. So, blog dedications are about as close as people are getting to an actual gift. I have spoken collectively about the Kieslings/Rileys, now I will speak to Dean.
I remember when Dan told me that his Dad was an Extension agent, I was sure that we would be kindred spirits. Dean is a true provider; generous; caring; self-sacrificing. He is adamant about not interfering with his kids’ decisions and lives. It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have an opinion – but he refuses to impose his opinion, and will only share if asked.
This quality is one that Dan also possesses. There are times that Dan has frustrated me in his refusal to tell me what to do. I hate making life decisions; I just want someone to tell me so that I can do it. Dan has encouraged me to make decisions and stand by them, while refusing to tell me what to do. It’s really the most loving thing he could do – by helping me ‘own’ my life, by making decisions. He learned this from his dad; I am thankful to you both.
Thank you, Dean, for loving your family more than yourself. Thank you for being supportive. Thank you for being welcoming, kind, and generous.
May you be blessed this Father’s Day!