Dear Julie: A Tribute to Mother Figures

Dear Julie,

Some things I will never forget, like the time we first met. It was a warm day in May. As your son and I rode along, I slumped further and further into the passenger seat of his car. I wished that seat could soak me in, that I would never have to face you. A wave of nervousness washed over me. A tiny baby kicked and flipped inside my belly. I was going to meet half of your family with a basketball-sized stomach, and I expected the worst welcome.

We pulled up in front of your best friend’s house where we would be having lunch. Full of hesitation and fear, I pushed myself out of the vehicle. Dale knew I was nervous; he probably was too. The front door flew open fast. You screamed out relentless excitement and joy. With outstretched arms you ran up to me. You pulled me in. All my worries disappeared into the summer breeze that swept past. 

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Our lives have been pretty intertwined since that first greeting. You rushed back to Iowa a few months later to meet our newborn baby, your third granddaughter. During that visit you offered to help in ways I would have never dared to ask. We have been on family vacations. We have celebrated several birthdays, holidays, new family arrivals and marriages. We have spent nights together laughing until hot tears rolled down our cheeks. We have shared boxes of candy while watching chick flicks. We have played games, and confided in each other. We have lost sleep worrying about the same things and people.

We have created countless memories, an intricate mix of good and bad among them. But nonetheless, they are ours to share.

On that afternoon, you embraced me. We have been family ever since

The person you are shines through the person your son is, a man I am thankful for day in and day out. His massive heart, unbounded energy and curiosity, plus his determination to fold laundry the very moment it’s dry speak so much to the way he was raised. You two share such a variety of character traits, it comes as no surprise that much of what I love about him, I adore about you, too!

I am thankful for the role you have had in shaping him. And I am thankful for the role that you will play in molding our daughter into a loving, determined girl.  

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I am thankful for your advice and your experience as I navigate this tricky road of motherhood. I am thankful for all the help you have given, and that you are very respectful of the way we choose to do things, even if you may not necessarily agree.

I am thankful you always bring snacks.

I am thankful you are content to have fun our way. Whether it’s picking up trash, shopping, hiking, or doing nothing at all, you do it enthusiastically.

I am thankful for the plethora of memories we have and that we have stories we can tell in unison like the perfect two-man act. I look forward to making more memories with you and your family all the time. I wish you lived closer, so the dinners, celebrations, and drop-ins would never be in short supply.

I am thankful you have opened your heart and your life to me with an outpouring of love. I deeply appreciate the way you have accepted me as your own.

It it such a pleasure to know you. And when it comes to being a part of your family of zany, fun, hard-working, big-loving, warmhearted, accepting, wild humans–trust me, the honor is ALL mine!

Happy Mother’s Day, Julie! 

Lots of love,

From your “not quite daughter-in-law”


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