My son’s wife, Renee, celebrated her birthday in June, and I can’t let the month pass away without expressing my love for her.
I call her my daughter-in-love, rather than daughter-in-law, because she is a daughter of my heart, not just joined to our family by a legal act of marriage. I did not coin the phrase. I heard about it, read about it, from Emilie Barnes, an author, speaker, organizer, and home manager. I’ve read her books and admired her work, especially her love for the Lord Jesus and her family.
When Travis came to the age where he began to seriously think marriage, I considered how this was going to eventually impact our own relationship. We always had a close bond. He was my only son, and I was his only mother. We could talk about most anything. Through the years, we have been each other’s support system. I know he prays for me, and he knows I pray for him.
When I contemplated another woman taking first place in my son’s life, I had a decision to make. I could be jealous and resent his love and attention to her and thus alienate my son’s affection for me and drive a wedge between us. Or I could accept her as Travis’ choice, love her and hopefully become her friend, thus making the bond of our family even stronger. I chose the latter for it promised a better outcome.
Travis dated a few girls, well, a lot of girls. He was a good-looking boy with an outgoing personality. There were a couple of times I wondered if one of them was going to be “the one.” But they went the way of infatuation, or young love, I suppose.
Finally, he brought home a tall, dark-haired beauty named Renee. On her first visit to our home, we had spaghetti with meat sauce, salad, and strawberry shortcake. I didn’t know it at the time, but strawberry shortcake was Renee’s favorite. I made some brownie points that day.
She became a frequent visitor, and Sweet William and I began to see Travis falling deeply in love. Actually, we were also falling in love with this sweet young woman.
Travis told me he wanted to marry Renee and had planned to give her a ring on Christmas Eve. The bombshell dropped, but I had seen it coming.
I wrote a letter that Christmas Eve and gave it to Travis and Renee after Travis presented her the ring. The letter is too personal to reprint here, but let me just share a small portion of my heart on that momentous day.
“Renee, I’ve been praying for you for a long time and didn’t even know who you were. But I asked the Lord to guide Travis to the wife he needed, who would be a strength to him, just as the Scripture says.
“You have become very dear to Bill and me. You are mentioned in our prayers right along with Travis. And I feel almost like someone has said, “Congratulations, it’s a girl!” I’m so happy with the prospects of having a daughter. I welcome you into our family, our arms, and our hearts.”
Proverbs 31 says of a wife’s value to her husband, “She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” Renee has been that kind of wife to my son.
She has been to me like Ruth was to Naomi in the Bible. She is the daughter I never had. I am thankful for her in my life, in my son’s life, and in our family.
I celebrate my precious daughter-in-love. I love you, Renee!