I hope I don't embarrass you too much by publishing this letter for the world (or the tens of people who read my blog) to see. But this is something I feel like sharing because otherwise, many people may never know what an exceptional person you are.
Each year that you are married to our precious daughter, Melanie, I love you more. I think many people know the "funny Jared" and several know the "hard-working Jared"...but I'm not sure how many know the "sensitive Jared".
It's this side of you...the sensitive side...that I want to celebrate in this letter.
And so, I love and appreciate you for :
- Loving our daughter and our grandchildren with all your heart
- Wanting to be with family on holidays and regular days and embracing our extended family as your own
- Giving Steve a precious letter in the airport before we left for Honduras (He still keeps that letter in his Bible and reads it often)
- Being so emotional when little Madeline was born. You seemed to be overcome by the awesomeness of bringing a child into the world
- Handing little Noah to your dad minutes after he was born and saying, through tears, "I'd like you to meet your grandson, Noah Murl Smalling..."
- Agreeing with Melanie when she wanted to be induced with Jack so that Steve "Poppi" could be in the country for the birth
- Holding the tiny bundle that was Ruby to your chest, with your face buried in her blanket, crying because your heart was breaking.
- Embracing the fact that she would always be a part of the family
- Allowing Melanie to grieve for as long as it took...
- Being strong for your family when you, too, were grieving...
- Being Melanie's "focal point" when she was in labor with Luke...The way you were talking to her constantly in a sweet, soothing voice and she, eyes closed, listening and following, made it seem you were experiencing the contractions along with her
- Taking the first week off work after Melanie and Luke came home from the hospital to take care of everything
- Putting your family before your job...
Those are just a few reasons why I am thankful to have you in our family. May God richly bless you as you continue to lead your family to heaven.