We met her for the first time the weekend of Clemson’s homecoming. We had heard a lot about her but we had not had an opportunity to meet her until then. She and Doug came up and she watched the Tigers beat the Louisville Cardinals. It was her first Clemson game and I wanted everything to work out.  I had texted her the week before they were to arrive and told her that I (we) were looking forward to meeting her.  I meant it.  I had also prayed that I would be able to maintain my composure and that she would feel welcomed.  I think that I succeeded and I think that she had a good time.

She seemed to be a very genuine, caring person.  She had a great personality and any concerns that I had about being able to carry on a conversation with her were soon put to rest.  She was very easy to talk to and seemed to be interested in our conversations.  We had a good first visit, BUT…I didn’t want to like her.

That weekend we saw Doug in a very different light.  For the first time in a long time we saw him really having a good time.  He was laughing a lot and smiling even more. He seemed to be enjoying each and every moment.  For that, we were grateful. We knew that he had been sad and lonely since the death of his wife, our daughter, almost three years ago.  It was time that he found happiness again and it was obvious that he had.  Still, though, I didn’t want to like her.

We had brunch on Sunday before they left to go back to the coast.  When Doug was not at the table I told her that I knew she had been nervous about meeting us but I had also been nervous about meeting her.  It was then that I began to tear up and I apologized for that.  She looked at me and said that if I needed to cry,  she would cry with me.  I believe she really meant that.

On the anniversary date of Jennifer’s death I received the sweetest text from her.  She will never know just how much that text meant to me.  I think that she really was concerned about all of us on that day.  I called her to thank her and I cried.  I cried for our loss and for memories that would not be made.   I cried and she listened and suddenly it was ok.

It was then that I knew that by liking her I would not betray Jennifer.  I knew that by liking her, she would not take Doug away from us.  I knew it was ok for me to finally admit what I had known all along.  I didn’t want to like her but I did, almost from the moment we met.

She said “yes” today and we are thrilled.  We love Doug and we love her.  She makes him happy and that is so important to us.  He will always be an important member of our family…he is Britton’s godfather…Wesley’s uncle and our son-in-love. Now we get to welcome Kayla into our family and I hope that you don’t mind being a part of this family, Kayla. It can be crazy at times but we wouldn’t have it any other way. We also look forward to meeting your family. Let’s hope that happens soon.

Lots of love and many blessings to you both.  Have a wonderful cruise. ❤️