I have a picture somewhere that was taken when my son Aaron was a baby. We are at my brother Maurice's house, and my sister-in-law Debbie is holding Aaron. I am sitting next to her and we are laughing about something. Every time I see that picture it brings me so much joy. It reminds me of our carefree days as a young couple with a new baby.
Our son is now 28 years old. This past August, he married a lovely young woman. Our daughter-in-law Anna is wonderful. It is like God has blessed us with another daughter. She loves our son unconditionally, and that means the world to us.
February 2 marks one year since they were engaged. Shortly after their engagement, Anna came to us and said she wanted to do something at the wedding to remember and honor our daughter Lauren. It was not something she had to do, it was something she wanted to do. She decided she would have one less bridesmaid than Aaron had groomsmen. She was leaving open the space that Lauren would have filled had she still been here with us. We were overwhelmed at this gesture, but more so at the heart of this young woman who was to become our daughter-in-law.
The day of the wedding came, and Anna surprised us yet again. In the wedding program she had our daughter Lauren listed as "Bridesmaid in Memoriam" along with the other bridesmaids. After I was escorted down the aisle, Lauren's groomsman (my son Aaron's oldest friend Gene) came back to bring me a bridesmaid's bouquet. Attached to the bouquet was a locket with Lauren's picture in it.
Anna did not have to share her special day in this way. I venture to say that not many young women would. But she did. That little act of kindness spoke volumes to what kind of woman our son was fortunate enough to marry. It tells you the kind of family she comes from, and it tells you what kind of heart she has. She has already proven to be a wonderful wife to Aaron and I know that she will be a great mother to our grandchildren one day. I know Lauren would have loved having her as a "sister" as much as we love having her as a "daughter."