My father-in-law died before he could be a grandpa. He would of been a really good granddad. He loved kids, had a terrific belly laugh,and his eyes sparkled when he was teasing.

Shortly after our fourth and youngest child was born, my Mother-in-Love married Bob.I guess he would be  my step-father-in-law. That was nineteen years ago.

The year they were married he asked me for a picture of me in my wedding gown. He and Marianne were setting up a guest room that had wedding portraits of all the girls as brides. I was so touched. Here I was the “step-in-law” and he treated me with the same sensitivity and tenderness as his own daughters, daughter-in-laws, and step-daughters.

He loved his grandkids, ALL of them. Step, adopted, birth…none of it mattered….they were all his and he was so proud of his entire family.

He and Marianne successfully brought two families together. Not easy when most of the “kids” are married, parents, and live all over the United States-oh and in Europe, too! Marianne with her four and Bob with his five. Add in all the younger generation and in-laws and you have a grand total of thirty-three (I think).

Bob died about a year and half-ago. He left us stronger as a family and rich with memories. And maybe each one of us learned to be a stronger individual too.

Here’s what I learned from this man:

Be intentional. To make family time happen, you have to plan it, invest in it, and make the effort.

Cherish and value time together, make it happen.

Be loyal to your family. Don’t play favorites.

Don’t jump to conclusions. Give others the benefit of the doubt.

Pitch in.

Take time to listen to and be interested in each person. He was a master at this.

Laugh. He and Marianne laughed when our 110 pound Airedale jumped on their bed in the morning when they were visiting us.

Tell stories. We were mesmerized by his tales.

Cook and enjoy food. He taught me how to make soup.

Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Be humble. He had LOTS of accomplishments but he would hate it if I bragged about them. He didn’t care about earthly accolades.

Don’t fear lively conversations and be respectful during them. With thirty-three people you can imagine all the different points of view regarding politics and religion.

Read. Stay informed. Pay attention to world, national, and local events.

Bob showed us what unconditional love looks like, demonstrated the importance of family, and lived with integrity. He is missed but his legacy lives on.

Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, 
the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver 
and yields better returns than gold. 
Proverbs 3: 13

What important things have you learned from the men in your life? How have they impacted you as a parent or person?

Happy Father’s Day! 
Blessings to your family.
Faith, hope, and love, 

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About the Author

Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator, parent coach, and co-founder of 1Corinthians13 She has written 6 books including Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home; The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections; and her most recent book, Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation. Contact Lori for your next event or for parent consulting or parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at the MOMS Together Group on Facebook.

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