Dear Morgan and Benjamin,
The day I met your father was a winter day in March. We were both taking a class at Lake Superior College when the campus held classes up at the Marshall School. The class was Interpersonal Communication, and Boyd Dallas was the teacher. I was sitting at my desk, waiting for the class to start and your dad walked in. This tall, good looking guy walked into the class, and smiled at me. He was wearing shorts and had killer legs. And that’s how I met your dad.
Morgan, you were 11 months old. It was you and me, kid. You and me against the world and we were NOT about to let any one into it. I got his number and called him one night, hanging up when he answered because I was nervous! He knew it was me, and I believe he called me back and we spoke for hours. He came over to study one night with a group of our classmates. He was and is SO smart! I still believe that our whole study group received A’s in that class because of his notes. Your grandpa Lyle came over to drop you off that night after our study group, and you ran right to him. You ran right to the man that would one day adopt you. You put your arms up to him and he picked you up. I think he may have fallen in love with you before he fell in love with me. You had just turned 1, and had started walking and talking. You called him Bo, for some reason. And you kept on calling him Bo until we started planning our wedding.
He had won you over in about 5 seconds, Morgan. It didn’t take that long for me. When people meet their significant other, their soul mate, their eventual spouse, the love of their life, sometimes they just KNOW. I was, at the time, consumed with school, you, and me. That’s all. No one else. But about 2 seconds after he walked into that classroom, I knew. Something just hit my heart. Was it cupid’s arrow, was it a hiccup, no. I think that he made my heart skip a beat, as cliche is it sounds. Yes. I’m pretty sure my heart skipped a beat. It went all flippy floppy and that was it. He was in my heart.
I remember our first Christmas together. We went to his house and he spoiled you rotten, Morgan! You received toys, candy and a big artist easel with a big tube of paper on it that you loved! You were so happy and giggly! It was that Christmas that he bought me my first pair of Sorrels. Those winter boots lasted me about 17 years, until they wore out and he bought me a new pair a few years ago. The three of us were a happy little family, even before we legally became one. The “3” of us were married on November 30, 1996 at the Copper Top Church in Duluth.
Benjamin, you came next. We had been married for 4 months when we found out we were pregnant with you. On your sister’s birthday, March 21. I asked your dad to run into town to buy not one, but 2 pregnancy tests. You were born almost 7 months later. You loved him from the first moment you saw him. I could see it in your eyes.
Your dad has made lasting memories with the two of you. Happy ones. If I close my eyes, I can see the two of you sitting in the big recliners at the fire station, laughing and talking with your dad. Asking him questions about the rig, and looking for pennies to put into the gumball machine. I can see him teaching each of you how to drive. I can see him cheering loudly for you at your high school volleyball games, Morgan. I can see the pride in his smile when you graduated from the USMC, Ben.
Morgan, marry like your daddy. You will never find anyone better! He is the most hard working, honest, patient and loving man that I have ever known. Find someone like him, and you will be not only be happy, but you will be complete for the rest of your life. Ben, take the wonderful traits of being a good husband your father has, and you will make some girl so very happy one day. And be the kind of dad that he is. He fiercely loves the two of you with all his heart. The bond that he has with each of you can never be broken. I’ve seen him shed tears for each of you. I’ve seen him pray for each of you. I’ve seen him full of pride for each of you. He loves you both more than you could ever fathom. There is nothing he wouldn’t do for either of you.
And that is how I met your dad. In an Interpersonal Communication class in 1995. I liked his legs and he liked my smile. We recently celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. We still hold hands when we go into the grocery store. We still make the two of you kids groan when you walk into the kitchen and find the two of us kissing. So the next time you look at your dad, know, that he was made to be your dad. Both of you. He loves each of you to the ends of this earth. “Any man can be a father, but it takes a real man to be a daddy.” I read this once. It’s true. Know that he loves you both. Always.