Dear Mark and Debbie,

Calvin forgot his phone again. He’s been making it a habit to silence his alarm, get up, pull his phone from the charger, and then somehow forget it on the coffee table. Now, instead of getting a text that tells me he’ll be home soon, it’s become more of a guessing game. “Ooo, will he be home on time? Or late?” Your guess is as good as mine. It really doesn’t bother me that much though. Unless I let my mind think about car accidents, or work related injuries, or the possibilty that there’s a puppy for sale, but he doesn’t have the ability to call me and ask if he can buy it, and then OH MY WORD….

 Paranoia.

Debbie, I only tell you this, because I have a feeling you’ve experienced this sort of thought process before. Due to the fact that you did most of Calvin’s raising on your own, I think you know the feeling all too well. Well, maybe minus the cute puppies for sale anyhow. And Mark, you’re the one who knows how to best reel Debbie in during these kinds of situations. Team work.

But let’s not freak out, Calvin’s an adult now, and knows how to drive a car in the dark. He’ll be fine. Dinner, however, may be cold. That’s a risk he’ll have to live with though, a side effect of leaving your phone at home.

The fact of the matter is, you’re both great parents. Sure, you may be a bit crazy at times, and you may let your parental instincts kick in a little too drastically every now and then, but it is clear you care about your kids… however old they may be. 

Debbie, thank you for your many years of being an only parent, and raising Calvin to be a respectful, loving, and overall, truly wonderful human being. He gets his strength and determination from you, witnessing a strong woman throughout his life. He gets his care for people from you, experiencing how much you care about him from the moment he was born. He gets his ‘don’t quit’ attitude from you, being raised up to believe that challenges in life- for people you truly care about- aren’t ones you walk away from. He is who he is, because of how you brought him up. So thank you, for everything you’ve done, and will do, to prove you care. I can only hope to someday, be as good a mother to your grandkids, as you were to him. Aside from my own mom, you have proven yourself to be one of the best. Thank you for your generosity, strong love for your kid, and will to be a great mom.

Mark, the fact that Calvin changed his name, and legally became your son, when he was already old enough to be considered an adult, is huge. You didn’t have to be there for his childhood for him to consider you a dad. You gained the respect and love of a son for his father, by simply being there for him, and showing him fatherly love. For the first time in his life, he gained a dad to look up to: one who treated him kindly, and really saw him as a part of the family. So thank you… For not seeing him as some unwanted baggage from your wife’s past, like so many step father’s do. Thank you for not being a step father, but instead, willingly taking on the role of a father. I can’t even begin to tell you how much it means to me, or to him, that you completely accept him as your own. Thank you for caring so deeply for someone you weren’t obligated to love, although, I’m pretty sure that would have been a deal breaker for Debbie.

Throughout the years I’ve come to know you, I’ve been embraced in endless amounts of hugs, greeted with laughter and smiles, and have witnessed the love and care you have for your kids. You two have also been a great model for a marriage, working together well, while accepting each other for who you are as individuals. Mark, you have a way of making sure Debbie doesn’t stress over the little things, reeling her in to a calm, happy state of mind; adding the fun, and minimizing the worrisome thoughts. And Debbie, you push Mark to get out of his comfort zone, dragging him along on your adventures from bird watching, to rock hunting, to knitting nights. He probably wouldn’t be doing any of those things if you weren’t around to get him to. 

Thank you for all the wisdom, laughter, and care you’ve given. We both love you a lot.

Much love for the two of you,

Melissa 

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