dear hendon

{Our sweet friends Chris + Emily, plus their little love, Hendon, are moving to Idaho.  This is a letter to their daughter about her parents and the impact they’ve had on our lives.}

Dear Hendon,

I can’t believe it’s here.  About a month ago, your mama excitedly called me, telling me of an application your dad submitted to Mission Aviation Fellowship in Boise, and how incredible it would be for y’all to move there (I feigned excitement and instead cried for a long while after we talked).  As you know now, the Lord moved things along quickly, and before we knew it, it was official.  Yesterday I said good-bye to your mama (and I wondered if I had ever embarrassed myself so much in my whole entire life).  Y’all are moving to Boise, and that is where you will grow up (at least for the foreseeable future).  You, sweet girl, will certainly never remember the days you spent in Colorado Springs, the first eight months of your life that you spent in this beautiful and fire-filled state.  But I will.

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Knowing your parents has been the biggest gift of my married life.  You see, Danny (who you will know is my husband, if your parents have raised you well) and I got married this past January, and moved a couple blocks away from your family’s home in the Springs a few days later.  We knew very few people in the area, and were dreadfully lonely.  We met you and your parents a few weeks later, at a class for ‘young’ marrieds at the church we were both attending.  Danny went up to your parents as soon as the class was over and asked what type of birth control they were using when you were conceived.  I know without a doubt that you have been a blessing that words cannot describe to your parents, and that you will never fully know how much they love you, however, they did not plan your birth.  You were a sweet surprise, being born just ten-ish months after they married in December 2011.  All that being said, I’m so glad that your parents embraced us instead of being horrified at Danny’s rather forward question.

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It was love at first sight.  When Danny suggested approaching y’all, I was so hesitant.  You see, your mama is GORGEOUS (sometimes she gets confused, so please remind her often) and the most stylish human I know (after Duchess Kate, of course, but I’m pretty sure she’s part robot).  And your papa is pretty good-looking and stylish himself, but we all know he must get it from his wifey.  Little did I know that the sooner we became besties, the better.

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It wasn’t until a Super Bowl party with the aforementioned group at our church that we really had a solid conversation (i.e. your mama openly admitted her love for Beyonce) with your parents that didn’t involve getting pregnant.  Y’all were sitting all alone, so I decided to gather my shaking self and approach.  Turns out it was my best decision ever.  That group must’ve been full of crazies, because in my opinion, y’all were the coolest ones there.  I have to restrain myself from talking to your pretty mama 24/7.

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Your mama and I exchanged emails for a couple of weeks before finally getting together for coffee/tea while you napped one afternoon.  That afternoon, my spirits lifted as I felt so surrounded by Jesus and His love in your home.  How blessed you are to grow up in such an amazing household.

It was then that our story really began.  We started to have dinner together almost weekly.  We played Wahoo together, we watched movies together, and we went on walks together (and watched as your dad tackled Jeb when he tried to annihilate another dog).  Needless to say, we very quickly became close friends.  At one point, you and your mama came over to help me redecorate my house, because as every reasonable person knows, I’m not good at such things.  We spent the afternoon hammering nails, rearranging furniture, repurposing old pieces, and bringing new, beautiful life into our home.  If you want, ask your mama if you can see the picture I took of y’all as she walked over to our house with you strapped to her, your toy(s) over her shoulder, and her bag on the other shoulder.  She thinks she looks homeless, but I think she looks cute.

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The times we’ve spent with you and your parents have been so life giving.  Your mama and papa have loved Danny and I so very well, embracing us as family.  They are both excellent listeners and good at asking questions, making us feel cared about and known.  Y’all aren’t vegan (at least not at the time I’m writing this), but every meal we ate together was (demonstrating your parents’ tolerance for people with weird ideas).  With a southern twist, of course.  If southern hospitality is a real thing, then I like it.  Because every time I was in your home, I felt special and wanted and important.  Your mama always remembers the little details of my life.  She laughs with me, and while she hasn’t cried with me yet, she hasn’t harassed me for falling apart in front of her, so that’s something.

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Sweet Hendon, I know very few people like your parents.  When people like them come into your life, you grab onto them and hold on so tight that they’ll never get away (or at least that’s what I do).  Apparently I need to work harder at the gym, because y’all have gotten away from me, leaving me asking the Lord to give Danny a job in Boise so that I can move into your basement (or trunk, because you don’t have a house yet).  I know that someday you’ll probably want to move out and away from your parents, so I’m telling you now: Girl, that is a CRAZY bad idea.  See if they’ll let you live with them forever.  If so, do it.  Because they’re the BEST EVER.  If they deny you, come live with me, because I know you’ll be just like them: unconditionally loving, hilarious, adventuresome (except when it comes to  snakes), drop dead gorgeous, and without a doubt, in love with Jesus.

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I love you Hendon, and I love your mama and papa.  Just like you’ll never know how much they love you, they’ll never know how much they’ve meant to Danny and me.  They’ve helped us survive our first few months of being married and living in a new place and loved us with Christ’s sacrificial and unconditional and amazing love.  Best of all, though, they’ve taught me to say y’all whenever I get a chance.

With love, and so many hugs (and give your mama a couple for me, if you don’t mind),

Shan

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