Monday, June 22, 2009

To my future husband and the father of my children.

Okay, so I've posted a lot lately... but I've been thinking a lot lately and I have a lot of things to say lately. 

Today is Father's Day and I am, of course, grateful for my Dad and for my Papa and Grandpa and all of the other incredible men in my life who are father-like figures. But, there's been another man on my mind today as well.

Last semester, I visited residents at a nearby retirement home on a weekly basis. I spoke with them in their rooms, played games with them in the activities room, and attended many social functions in the main hall. I feel terrible because I can't remember most of their names and I doubt any of them remember mine... but there was one man in particular that I loved to visit whose wisdom hasn't faded from my mind. He had been widowed for a few years, but he loved his wife nonetheless. Together they had ten children and I spent many an afternoon sitting at his feet listening to the stories of their lives. One day he told me a story that particularly touched my heart. He said that when he first started dating his sweetheart and began to realize he was falling in love with her, he wanted to come up with a nice nickname to call her. He knew that he wanted to marry her and that she was the woman he had dreamed would be the mother to his children. He decided that he would call her "mother" from that day forward... and he did. Before they were married and before they had children, he called her "mother." He wanted her to know how much it meant to him to be a parent, to raise children, and he thought she deserved that special title more than anyone else.

I remember when the aging man told me this little story. It made me think a lot about life, about the roles parents play, about love and what it really means, about growing old with someone, about losing people close to you, about understanding what matters most, and about learning from the past. Everytime I spoke with him, he made me think.

He loved his wife in an extraordinary way. I could see it in his eyes and I had never even met her. It's the type of love that is rare and incredibly beautiful, mature with age and experience. It's the type of love that every person dreams of finding. I could have just sat in his room and watched him and learned something. I will never forget his kindness, his wisdom, and his patience.

One of the most memorable things he taught me was that you don't become a parent the day you have a child... you become a parent the day you are born. From the earliest days of your life on, you make decisions. Every decision you make is one that builds your character. Every choice you make is one that shapes you into the person you are to become. Each step you take will be one your child may ask about. What do you want your choices to say about who you were? Before your children are even born, you are setting an example. Who do you want them to follow?

It has taken me a while to get to the point of this blog post... but the point is... I am incredibly grateful for the man my children will call Dad.

Thank you for living a life that our children can pattern. Thank you for being a good friend, for knowing how to have good fun, for avoiding the influence of drugs and alcohol, for loving your mom, for learning the stories in the scriptures, for serving a mission and returning with honor, for remaining worthy to enter the House of the Lord, for being slow to judge and quick to forgive, for looking for the best in others, for maintaining relationships, for being sincere and genuine, for being remarkably faithful, for working hard even when you don't want to, for the choices you've made that have turned you into the man you are.

JD... I have no idea what I did to deserve you, but I want you and all the world to know, that I love you and that I cannot wait to be your wife, your companion, and your very closest friend for the rest of time. On Father's Day and always, I thank our Father in Heaven for you and all that you are. I miss you, I love you, and I can't wait to see your precious face.

No comments: