To my mother-in-law, 

There was a time when I was dating your son that I wasn’t sure you and I would get along. To be fair, I was young and knew absolutely everything, so there’s that. 

But as we grew to know each other, our respect for one another deepened. And now that the vows your son and I exchanged on that hot August afternoon seem to have happened a lifetime ago, I like to think I’ve grown older and, hopefully, a little wiser. 

And I owe you a sincere and giant thank you. 

Because you may not have realized it then, but you raised your little boy into the man of my dreams. 

Most days, my husband walks through the door at 5:00 (or later) after a long day at work. He loosens the collar of his shirt, drops kisses on the heads of our children, and squeezes me a quick hello. 

You raised him to be a provider, a hard-working, dedicated servant—and you instilled in him a deep appreciation for home and family, helping him understand just what it is he’s working for. 

He is steadfast and strong, a source of comfort and balance to my more excitable ways. He knows how to talk me down from the ledge of anger or resentment or fear with his calming words and quiet wisdom. 

You raised him to listen more than he speaks, to never snap to judgment or resort to anger, and to always be kinder than he feels. 

He’s intelligent and thoughtful and so very gentle with my heart. He’s held my hand through heartbreak and joy, never ashamed to weep with me no matter who might be watching. 

You raised him to know vulnerability isn’t just for the girls, and that sometimes, even grown men just need a good cry.

He’s an incredible dad—would have a dozen babies, I think—and is generous with his time and affection. The day he became a father and our daughter was whisked away to the NICU, he sat by her side holding her tiny hand when I couldn’t, standing in the gap for the both of us as a pillar of strength and compassion. 

You raised him to be tender, to value every life, and to know the greatest gift he can give his own children is his time and unconditional love. 

His heart relentlessly pursues God as he leads our family in our imperfect walk with faith. He holds our babies in the pew on Sunday mornings as they clamor for his attention, hands them offering money to place in the plate every week, and spends late nights diving into the Word. 

You raised him to know he’s a sinner in desperate need of a Savior—and that as head of his home, his duty is to pass that understanding on, and daily guide us toward the grace of our good and perfect Father. 

He tells corny dad jokes. Pays down his student loans without complaint. Makes a mean plate of spaghetti. Tackles our mountain of laundry. Rocks the baby at 3 a.m. Brings me dollar Cokes when he knows I’m tired. Spends Saturday nights twirling our daughters around the living room and playing ping-pong with our son. 

He is everything I ever dreamed of in a husband—and you helped shape his heart. 

Now that I’m raising a son of my own, I sometimes think about you cradling your baby boy in the still of the night all those years ago. What did you hope for him as he slept in your arms, his blond hair curling against the nape of his soft neck? Did you close your eyes and dream of him as this man, this honorable, loving, beautiful man? 

Because that’s precisely what he is—and you should be so proud. 

Your son’s grateful wife 

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Carolyn Moore

Carolyn traded a career in local TV news for a gig as a stay-at-home mom, where the days are just as busy and the pay is only slightly worse. She lives in flyover country with her husband and four young kids, and occasionally writes about raising them at Assignment Mom