Friday, February 10, 2012


I always thought it was simple. When a child gets engaged, there is a celebration, a wedding is planned, a family is started. The parents? Well, the parents celebrate a milestone for their child and continue on. Now, though... Now, I'm the parent. Now I realize how much more it means.

I've been thinking about the four of us and how the addition of one more adds a new layer of complexity as we shift to a family of five. I've been thinking about having a daughter for the first time, about what it means to me, to Eric, to our future daughter and to both our sons.

It is as simple as setting another place at the table and as complex as learning to love another person. Like having a new baby, there was a moment of wondering if I had room in my heart for one more, followed by the moment I realized the answer was yes, yes I do. I look at this young woman and realize she holds our son's heart in the palm of her hand, and he, hers. And with that sharing of hearts there is a centering in my heart, a gathering of love, an acknowledgment that our family is growing.

There is a dichotomy of fragility and strength found in sharing love and with that dichotomy, many challenges for love to overcome. This thought sweeps me back to our beginnings so many years ago, to those fresh feelings, and the excitement of life unfolding. I contemplate the richness of our marriage and the family we've built together, the life we have shared and the life that lies ahead. I think of my parents, entering their 57th year of marriage, my brothers and sisters, the foundation Mom and Dad gave us. I remember how they folded Eric into our family, how they gathered in each new husband and wife and I only hope that I can do as well.

I look at our new daughter and I think... we will share moments of joy... and we will share moments of sorrow, as life is certain to offer both. There may be moments of anger, though I hope they are few and far between, and are followed by forgiveness. We will turn to each other for strength, for solace, for laughter. I hope some day I will celebrate with her as I hold their babies and watch them grow. There may come a time in my future when this woman, my new daughter, will have to care for me, nurse me, offer me comfort. As Riley places his trust in her, so do we. As she places her trust in Riley, she places her trust in us. With this marriage our son offers us a daughter, a relationship to last our remaining years. It is so much more than I thought it would be, already offering richness and love. To our new daughter, Emily, we open our arms, our hearts, our family, and our lives to you.


Em said...

I love you. The more and more I read this the more and more my heart melts. I have waited my whole life to be welcomed into such loving arms and I am beyond grateful.

Anne said...

That's such a healthier attitude than, "You're taking my son away!" Congratulations to your family on the upcoming nuptials, whenever they occur.

Scott McMurtrey said...

Michelle, I think your heart is as big as anyone's in this world. I bet there's room in there for a lot more. :)

Leslie said...

You sure are a wonderful lady Michelle! I love to see this and read this. Hugs to you and Eric!

Irene said...

I loved reading this. A lot of times there's a tug of war between the MIL and DIL, but you're so accepting and loving. I hope to follow your lead if and when my children decide to marry.