Today is the 45th wedding anniversary of Harlan and Maureen Bailey and for nearly 19 years, I've enjoyed the privilege of being their one and only daughter-in-law. Some people can't stand to be around their in-laws and dread family gatherings, but I guess I'm one of the lucky ones. Truly, I couldn't ask for a better pair of second-parents.
* They welcomed me into their home when I moved from Florida to Minnesota... after only having met me a couple of times a few months earlier. If only they'd known how weird I am, they may have rescinded their invitation...
* They are generous beyond compare, in every imaginable way.
* They adore my children and want to spend time with them. Maureen has even mastered the tricky art of picking out clothes that Katie loves. And she always finds a good sale!
* Harlan can never talk about holding Katie for this first time without getting tears. This is also true for when he talks about the first time she said, "Papa."
* They are cat people. They love their grandcats and dote on them as every good grandparent should do. When Phoebe does something silly, I always want to call Maureen because I know she will laugh too.
* They are thoughtful. They remember everything, keep track of the events in our lives, and always ask about them. I feel loved.
* When we visit in the afternoon, they always have good snacks. And Harlan makes a mean pitcher of sangria.
* They love me like a daughter. In fact, Harlan often says that he had to send John to Florida in order for him to get a daughter. I feel happy when he says that.
* They are tolerant and forgiving. As far as family dynamics go, this is golden.
* They gave me my first sewing machine and it has brought me so much pleasure. It lasted almost 20 years and sewed its final stitch last month. They recently called and told me they want to buy me a new one. They did this because they love me and like to contribute to my happiness. That's just how they roll...
* They raised a son who is sensitive, generous, funny, tolerant, thoughtful, and loving. This alone has forever changed my life.
I could go on and on... I guess what I'm trying to say is that I am so grateful for their presence in my life. I know there are plenty of times when I didn't say it or show it, but I love and appreciate both of them more than they know. Happy Anniversary!