My Three Sons-in-law

Debra and I had kids. Crazy, I know! But it seemed like a good idea at the time. 

She tells me it’s all my fault and I guess she’s right. By the time I figured out that we needed a quality water filter, we had six of the buggers swarming the house. 

Once you’ve got them, they’re hard to get rid of. You can’t sell them and giving them away it frowned upon. You’re stuck with them for at least 18 years.

After a while you get emotionally attached. This is not an accident; they are very good at manipulating your feelings. They do things that make you feel proud. They bring home a “greatest hero” assignment from school with your name on it. They’ll even go so far as to obey you or take your advice.

Their slyest trick, however, is to make you worry about them. They get sick. They act afraid. They cry. And once you start worrying about them, it never ends. 

I have two sons and Heaven knows they gave me plenty of reason for worry, but daughters are really good at this. A female child can play a male parent’s heart strings like Yo-Yo Ma plays his cello. This only amplifies as they grow into adulthood.

And there is nothing a dad can do about the worry! Unless…

… they marry a good man.

Debra and our four beautiful daughters after a long day of wrangling their own kids.

To be clear, there is no man on earth good enough to marry any of my daughters. I am not being emotional; this is a rational fact. All four of my daughters have grown into gorgeous, smart and spiritually sensitive women. They are all so far above average you can’t even see average from where they are.

To be clearer, none of them needed a man to make it in the world or to complete themselves, but they all wanted a man and a family.

And, while none of my sons-in-law are as good as my daughters, they come pretty darn close. All three are good looking; smart and well educated; make good livings and provide well for their families; and treat my daughters with respect as spiritual and temporal partners.

I am not making any of this up!

My Three Sons-in-law

At a recent three-day family reunion, they demonstrated how well they get along with the rest of the family, including each other. Which is a big deal in the drama-filled, semi-dysfunctional Bath clan.  They even tolerate me. 

Because of them, I don’t worry as much – which means the world to me. My daughters occasionally call for my advice or opinion and I try to be wise and helpful, but if I were not in the picture they would be just fine.

Now if you can do arithmetic, you will have figured out that I am one good son-in-law short. I am taking applications. No slackers need apply. In this family we are accustomed to only the best. And while the qualifications are rigorous, the hours long and the commitment eternal, the rewards are amazing.

And the winning candidate gets to hang out with me!

Oh, and one more thing about the job.  There will be kids involved – sweet, beautiful, loving, intelligent kids – because grandkids are one of the great joys of old age and the only way to get them is to put up with kids of you own.

Debra with daughters and their families after three long days together. These are fourteen of the nineteen grandkids.

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