One of the best moments of my life happened right after I got married. While at a quiet family dinner, my father-in-law turned to me, and in his usual understated way, smiled and nearly under his breath said, “So I guess you’re going to start calling me ‘Dad,’ right?”
I took that as being his way of letting me know that beyond any piece of legal document, any formal invitation or anything else, that we were family. He considered me his daughter, and I was welcomed to consider him a father.
I think about that moment often. A simple gesture that broke an otherwise mundane conversation. I couldn’t have been happier. Sure, I wasn’t the first daughter-in-law to be given this verbal right, this ability to call her father-in-law by the affectionate term “Dad,” but it meant more to me than all the wedding gifts we received combined. And for that, I’ll always be grateful.