I have known my son in law longer than I have known my daughter.
He was the toddler next door when we moved to Florida from North Carolina; Francesca would be born three years later. She was his little sisters best friend which made her invisible until years later when at his sister’s graduation party he realized she wasn’t. He asked my husband if he could date her and I remember thinking: God really does answer prayers. For Francesca had dated some real toads, friends. Come on, girls, you’ve dated a few of them – you know what I am talking about. During those toad-dates, I would sit up and pray for God to bring Francesca a nice boy like Richard – the boy next door. God really was up all night with me! For after asking my husband permission, he began to date our daughter.
When they came to us saying they were in love, we felt truly blessed that our daughter had found her prince. I remember telling my friends that I would no longer have to worry about Francesca because she would be his problem! They laughed and said that I would now worry about the two of them.
Truer words were never spoken.
We worried about him as he watched his bride battle an eating disorder that threatened not only her physical, emotional and spiritual health but those around her. Richard remained supportive and Francesca overcame her eating disorder.
Attempts to start a family became difficult because of the effects of starvation on her body and after a while they began to think about adoption or surrogacy. Richard never wavered in his love for our daughter. But God was still listening to prayers for Aiden William was born despite the prognosis that it would be impossible for her to conceive. Nothing is impossible for God.
When I had open heart surgery I remember suggesting that they need not come because they had a toddler, but my daughter was adamant. I suggested that Richard remain at our house with our grandson the day of the surgery but he made the case that he had known me longer than my own daughter and he wanted to be there. How could I argue with love like that?
With the birth of their second child came the added stress of selling the now too small home for a larger one, packing and moving to the new home and an increase in Richard’s workload. And that all happened the last month of Francesca’s pregnancy! Throughout the turmoil, Richard remained a loving husband, father, son and son in law.
Not an easy feat when you add in the fact that he is part of my crazy family. Richard has put up with more antics and drama on my part than I wish to impart in this blog. Suffice it to say that he is kinder that I am, and definitely more patient than I could ever be. He is thoughtful and sensitive to our needs and always makes sure that we have opportunities to spend with our grandsons and our daughter – despite how busy their lives are.
Recently, I had the opportunity to go to a She Speaks Writers/Speakers Conference where I hoped to meet with a few publishing editors and interest them in publishing my book. However, I would be away for my husband’s birthday. Boy, did I have “the guilt’s”. Both my daughter and son in law decided it would be a perfect time for Francesca to spend a father/daughter weekend. Truly a beautiful idea and one that again made us both do the happy dance. Except it meant that Richard would have to take care of two children: a soon to be eight year old and a 6 month old!
Not a job I would have taken on alone.
Yet without so much as a frown, he encouraged my daughter to drive to Boca and spend some one on one time with her father, watching the new Star Trek Movie, checking out a brewery, working out together and trying new restaurants. All the things that Richard loves to do with my husband.
With a kiss and a smile, Richard sent Francesca on her way to a quiet, relaxing weekend, while Richard held the fort balancing diapers, formula, and homemade baby food with an 8 year old that had two birthday parties to attend.
When my daughter married the man she chose to love for better or for worse, was the day that I agreed to love him for better or for worse and as another child of mine. Richard has made that easy. From the toddler I met back in 1978 to today, he remains the sweetest boy I know. I could not love him more if I had given birth to him. I thank God for him.
Richard is not just my daughter’s husband.
He is my son in love.