There are many things you wish for as a mom of a daughter. One of them is that she will find a wonderful man who will love her with every cell of his body. Treat her with respect, and encourage her to be the best she can be while he, in turn, works on being the best he can be. You hope their relationship grows, and they can agree and disagree. He will strive to be an excellent father and have a great head on his shoulders when planning for their future. He will assimilate into our family, as crazy and dysfunctional as it may be.
The thing is, you never know who your daughter will fall in love with. Boys will come and go. Some you may like, some you won’t. There will be the ones who break her heart, and you will feel the pain right along with her. Your words will be of little comfort, and you know from experience that no matter what you say, she will do what she wants. Deep down, you want her to figure things out on her own because the reward of finding the right guy or making her own decisions will be worth it. I prayed she would come to me for advice, ask questions, learn from what I have gone through, and in the end, find the love of her life.
My daughter was wise beyond her years and rarely asked for help. She was the kid that wanted to do everything on her own. She would turn you down if you offered to help, telling you she had it covered. After high school graduation, she went off to UC Riverside for college. She was dating someone and was close to his family. By the end of her first year of college, she had a full-time internship with the Department of Defense and transferred back to San Diego to finish college. Now a full-time employee and a full-time college student, she was swamped. I don’t know what happened, but the relationship did not last. What I can tell you is that it was for the best. As they say, all things happen for a reason. We don’t always understand why, but it will be revealed at the perfect time.
I think about how little we, as parents, know what our children do once they leave the nest. How they meet people and when they enter a relationship. We have the luxury of meeting everyone when they live at home. When they live independently, we meet their friends or significant other when they decide. We must trust their ability to choose the good people with whom to surround themselves.
The first time I met Matthew, I happened to be moving rocks and boulders in my yard. I was a mess, dirty, and in my usual crazy gardening attire. Let me say I was not a pretty sight. I don’t know precisely how long he and my daughter had been dating, but she felt it was time for us to meet. The meeting was obviously not formal; we aren’t that kind of family. The conversation probably went more like, “Hey, mom, I am going to stop by with Matt sometime today.” I love having visitors and have never been fussy about how I look or what I am doing. Come one, come all, make yourself at home.
The kids showed up, Alexis introduced him to me, and I immediately noticed how handsome he was, but I was impressed by his friendly and outgoing personality. Within minutes Matthew asked if he could help me with what I was doing. I think I knew right then and there this was the real deal. Here was a guy willing to get dirty and help me in the yard. Never had any other boy my daughter dated offered to take their plates to the kitchen or wash a dish. Let alone help with a chore. Matthew busted his ass in the yard that day until I was ready to quit. One might think he was trying to make himself look good in my daughter’s eyes, but this wasn’t the case. This young man just enjoyed helping and wanted to be part of the family. To this day, he is still the same.
Matthew seemed to be a permanent fixture in our family from that day forward. He was a great communicator, loved to ask questions, and had no problem conversing with anyone in the family. I enjoyed his company, and he even created a unique name for me “Gorgeous Mom.” How could you not love a kid that called you that?! What was even more important to me was that I saw how he treated my daughter. He was caring, treated her with respect, and looked at her like she was the most precious thing in the world. As time went on, he became close with my younger daughter and, over the years, became the big brother she never had. I enjoyed having Matthew around and started to see my daughter blossom. The two of them were magical together.
As with every relationship, these two went through some difficult times. They survived a long-distance relationship, endured months of Matthew working in Australia, college graduations, a few moves, and crazy roommates. They also had a lot of fun traveling and planning for their future. The relationship only got stronger, and so did my love and respect for Matthew. He was a young man with dreams when I met him, and over the next six years, he matured and grew into the man that stands before me today. He is well educated, strives for excellence, cares for people, and enjoys learning. He is everything I wanted for my daughter. Together they are a genuine “Power Couple.”
After what seemed like a long wait, Matthew proposed to Alexis in Costa Rica. The family was thrilled and couldn’t wait for their wedding day. Alexis and Matthew together planned and paid for their entire wedding. The day was magical, and the two seemed more in love than ever. The next question on everyone’s mind was when would they have a baby? They informed us from the beginning no baby anytime soon. They wanted to travel, have fun and wait until they were ready.
Starting a family is a big decision, and they wanted to be sure they were ready to bring a baby into the world. Every time we were together, they asked me questions about my marriage and how and why I raised the kids the way I did. What would I have done differently? We talked about anything and everything. Still, all I heard from them was, “we don’t know when we want to have kids.” Financially, I thought they were in great shape. They owned a home, both had great jobs, and daycare would not be an issue. These two were so far ahead of most couples, yet still, they wanted everything to be perfect. I was so impressed by these two and wished I had been more like them when I thought of having my kids.
Then one Friday, during Covid, I received a text asking if I was busy and if they could FaceTime? I was a little concerned, but I said, of course, you can. Immediately two smiling faces came on, and they held up a pregnancy test. They were going to have a baby. Hallelujah!
The pregnancy seemed to fly by, well, for me anyway. My poor daughter had the usual morning sickness and was extremely tired. I remember those days and could only offer comforting words. Lucky for her, she has Matthew. If I thought he was the best boyfriend, turned husband, big brother to the younger sister, helper to anyone in the family, I now realized he was also a fantastic caretaker. He doted on Alexis daily, ensuring she got rest, water, and food. Matthew also made sure to ward off any stressful situations. Damn, that kid won the lottery. In case you were wondering, this guy is head over heels in love with my daughter.
By this time, I had no doubt what kind of dad he would be. And let me tell you, I wasn’t wrong. From the moment Alexis went into labor, daddy was on duty. Matt sent the family text updates along the way and pictures as soon as our precious little Zion Atlas was born. I don’t think Alexis changed a diaper for the first week. Matthew has been 100% hands-on every day since. The love for his son radiates out of him. Zion soaks it up and beams it back to everyone around him. These two have a beautiful relationship filled with love, respect, and communication, and that union created the perfect family.
Matthew, I am proud to call you my son-in-law. I love you. Thank you for taking care of Alex, Jordan, and me. You are a fantastic daddy with an overflowing heart.
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