This fall marks five years since Dustin and I began dating. Shortly after we started dating, Dustin asked me to go with him to his grandparent’s beach house in Surf City one weekend. He was so eager for me to go, I finally agreed to take some time off from work and we drove down one weekend in October when the weather was just starting to turn cool and well past the beach going season. I’ll never forget that first trip to the beach house.
As we walked up the steps to the house, he stopped just outside the door and said “Oh, by the way, you may want to know who you’re about to meet. My grandparents Mema and Papa, Mrs. Snow who is like another grandparent. Also, my mom Kay, cousin Jerri-Rae, her husband Robbie, my aunt Brenda, uncle Jerry, and my niece Karis. And my sister Lindsey and her husband Jarred. And maybe my other cousin Luke and his wife Jamie.”
OH BY THE WAY?! I thought. He couldn’t have mentioned I was about to meet his ENTIRE family on the two hour drive there? We had only been seeing each other for about two months at that point, so this was kind of a big deal. I stammered out a weak “O…K…” as we stepped inside. Lucky for me, they were all there! Literally, right there. Sitting at the kitchen table eating dinner as we walked through the door. Mema and Papa jumped up to greet me. I went to shake Papa’s hand and instead, he hugged me. He told me “Sorry if you don’t like hugs, but we hug people around here.” I instantly settled in for one of many delicious meals made by Mema and completely forgot how nervous I was just moments before.
I’ve always said that weekend was one of the weekends that changed everything for me. I loved seeing Dustin interact with his family, and it was evident he was in his element at the beach house. We had a great time fishing, eating, and enjoying each other’s company that weekend. More importantly, though, I caught glimpses of what my future might be like with this amazing man. And I fell for him hook, line and sinker. I couldn’t get enough of the love this family shared, and seeing Dustin so happy there was the best part. His kindness and genuine concern for his grandparents melted my heart. He was so sweet and so thoughtful. And let’s be honest – he was always sweet and thoughtful to me, but we were dating at the time. I was supposed to be treated sweetly and thoughtfully! How he acted towards his family showed me that his kind and thoughtful nature was truly sincere.
I also vividly remember how well he loved his beautiful niece Karis. She was just six years old at the time, and her wavy blond hair and constant smile was contagious. He acted like he was just smitten with her, and her with him. He picked her up and gently tossed her tiny little body in the air above his head over and over again. Hearing her giggle float through the air was the sweetest sound. Again, I was weak in the knees from glimpses of all that could be with his great man. That weekend was just the beginning of our story and I knew it was going to be a good one.
Fast forward to this Memorial Day weekend when I made the two hour drive to that same beach house once more with my sweet Dustin, now my husband of three years. This time, however, was even more special than our first trip. This time we had our own darling baby girl in tow, visiting the beach house for her very first time.
Yet again, that beautiful home on Sea Manor Lane gifted me with glimpses of an amazing life ahead with my sweet Dustin. Dustin was just as excited to introduce our sweet Emmy Mae to the easy going, love-filled life at the beach house as he was to share it with me that weekend five years ago. I was amazed that even though Dustin and I have been married for three years and we welcomed our sweet girl over seven months ago, I was able to see him in a new light at the beach house. And it was glorious. He was just so elated to share the memories he loved and cherished so dearly growing up with a little girl of his own, and it filled me with joy. He was so excited for her first boat ride. Her first sips of Mema’s lemonade. Her first bites of Papa’s homemade peach ice cream. Her first time visiting the Point, and her first swim in the ocean. Her first visit to Sear’s Landing. Her first nap under Aunt Brenda’s tree. Her first walk around Atkinson Point. Her first night sleeping with the windows open and an ocean breeze so heavenly no restless baby could resist falling fast to sleep.
I always knew the beach house was a special place for my husband, but I had no idea how special he would make it for our daughter. He was so proud to show her off and to give her the experience he loved so much growing up.
On this Father’s day, I am reminded of these moments and all the ups and downs we’ve encountered in the past that brought us to today. I am beyond grateful to be married to someone who is so present, so loving, and so meant to be a husband and father. He is more than I could ever ask for – not just for me, but for my daughter as well. There are SO many more examples I could give of all the wonderful, sacrificial acts of love that my husband shows to me and our baby on a daily basis. I can remember so many times shortly after giving birth that I was in awe of the man I married and how strong he was for the both of us. I give all the glory and praise to my Heavenly Father for bringing Dustin into my life, and also for weekends at the beach house filled with glimpses of all that HE has in store for us. Happy Father’s Day to my love! Emmy and I cannot thank you enough and we do not deserve you, but we are so glad you are ours.
With love from your