To My Future Son in Law,
As I write this, you are likely tucked safely into your bed, exhausted and eagerly anticipating your day tomorrow. You probably had a full day of learning and exploring, in the way little boys do. And while you most definitely do not have marriage on your mind tonight, I most definitely do.
Someday, sweet boy, you will marry my daughter. You should know that she is strong and feisty and loves fiercely. She is brutally honest, beautifully brave, and endlessly kind. She is a fighter and a protector. She is my hero.
Shortly after her birth, she fought her way back quite literally from the edge of death. Every single day since then and for every day ahead of her, she will battle a life-threatening chronic illness. Someday you will stand next to her in the battle and be as overwhelmed by her grace and strength as her dad and I am and will always be. She will rely on you to be strong in the moments when she is not and to love her, not in spite of her illness, but because of how she embraces life.
The experiences you have today, the people who care for you, and how you care about the world will ultimately shape not only the man you become, but the relationship you will have with my daughter and the family you will one day build together. Pay attention to these experiences. There are lessons to be learned and wisdom to be gained.
All of those things seem a million miles away, sometimes even to me. I love each one of my children and worry for their futures and the choices they will make for themselves. It’s hard to picture what life will look like in 15 years or 20, but I am very happy you will be in that picture for my baby girl. I am relieved that you will be there for her and I know she will be there for you. Part of me cannot wait to meet you and see that phase of life begin for my girl but an even bigger part of me wants time to slow down so I can relish her childhood. I’m sure your parents feel the same.
There are many, many things I want for my girl and many, many things I pray that she will experience in her lifetime. There are lessons I want her to learn so she can be shaped into the woman and wife you’ll need her to be, but there are also things and lessons I want for you as you grow and become the man and husband she’ll need you to be. I will need you to be that man for her not only because she is my baby girl and deserves the best, but because her medical needs are very real, very challenging, and very rare.
So on this night…I hope you were tucked in by someone who loves you, worries about you, and prays over you. I hope you pray, too. Prayer is your lifeline to Him and you will need Him for the rest of your life, even when you think you don’t.
In the morning, you might be off to preschool or kindergarten. You might be home schooled, public schooled or even private schooled. None of that matters. I only hope that you are kind to your peers, both in school and out. I pray that you feel the sting of mistreatment by those same peers, so you will know what it feels like and be spurred to befriend others who might also be stung.
I hope that you fail. Failure will teach you perseverance and you will need that not only in your marriage, but in life. Perseverance will teach you to get up and try again.
I hope you respect your elders and hold doors for ladies. Chivalry is not dead and respect will carry you far in life. Show respect and you will earn respect.
I hope you thirst for knowledge. Knowledge isn’t gained in solely the classroom. It is earned daily through the lives we lead. Understanding that will give you wisdom.
I hope you question everything. Someday, you might need to question the treatment plan doctors prescribe for my daughter. She will count on you to act on her behalf when she is not able. Be her advocate.
I hope you are strong. You will need to be when she is sick and there isn’t a single thing in the world you can do to make her physically feel better. Your strength and love are what she will lean on in those times. When you can no longer be strong, call on Him and He’ll be strong for you. Trust me on this.
I hope that you work hard for your first car and pay for your own insurance. Hard work does build character. Remember that when your own children need cars.
I hope you take the time to relax and enjoy a hobby or sport. You must learn to care for yourself before you can care for others and you will most definitely need to care for each other.
I hope that you pay attention to the little things like the color of the sky and the feel of your grandfather’s hand holding yours. I hope you recognize that those moments are fleeting. Embrace them.
I hope you are considerate and put others first. Many people label my daughter as “special needs” due to the rarity of her condition and its life-threatening implications. My prayer is that you will simply find her special and rare.
I hope you are thoughtful. Your marriage will benefit from your thoughtfulness, but so will every other relationship in your life. If you are thoughtful, you’ll be considerate and if you are considerate, you will be cherished.
I hope that you are never afraid to ask for help. From your parents, your teachers, your elders, and someday, from me.
I hope that you are confident in what you do and say because you are doing and saying the right things.
I hope that you love to build. Spend hours building and rebuilding whatever your imagination conjures up. Be patient when you don’t get it right the first time. You’ll need that patience when you marry my daughter, who is stubborn and headstrong, and never hesitates to speak her mind.
I hope that you hug your parents and siblings openly. My daughter is highly affectionate and will need your reassurance when facing yet another blood draw or panel of tests.
I pray that you have faith as it will carry you through dark days and nights when uncertainty looms large.
I pray that you know and love God. He will play a huge role in the life and marriage you will build.
And finally, I hope you will recognize my daughter when she enters your life as she was chosen for you by God a very long time ago, even before I thought to write you this letter. While she does have a medical condition that needs to be managed, she is so very much more than her diagnosis. You will know this when you see her. Her personality is so bright and she is so loving that it blinds people to everything else. You’ll see.
I love you already,
(Your future mother-in-law)