Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due – A “Toast” To Mom And Dad

“My parents didn’t tell me how to live, they lived, and let me watch them do it.”

Clarence Budinton Kelland

June 16, 2009

Dear David and Sharon,

I intended to share these thoughts aloud, in the form of a toast, at the rehearsal dinner, but, like you, concluded that Matt’s “toast” of Courtney should be the last word on all subjects relating to them and their relationship.  Still, I don’t want my thoughts to be left unsaid – having long ago concluded that life is too short to leave words of love and admiration unspoken. I was overwhelmed with emotion (but not at all surprised) as I sat listening to the words of affirmation that Courtney’s friends, family members and future husband used to describe her: “quiet,” “self-assured,” “giving,” “loving,” “compassionate,” “passionate,” “understanding,” “always willing to help,” “a true friend,” “kind,” etc. I wonder if, in hearing those words, the two of you fully appreciate the critical part you played in first planting and then lovingly and unselfishly nurturing the seeds of those unique and powerful traits of the heart? I do, because I was privileged to see it firsthand from the day you welcomed into your lives and in the weeks of our special summers in Ocean Isle Beach.

My sense is that, as parents, we don’t fully grasp the profound impact our words and actions have on our children (both positive and negative). In your case, I suspect that Courtney quickly came to understand, through your “real life” example, what it means to love and to be loved – unconditionally.  I’m equally sure that, as she grew, Courtney came to realize that your support and acceptance of her and her gifts also was unconditional, which, in turn, gave her the freedom and the security she needed to chase and, ultimately, fully embrace her dreams, both on and off the dance floor. Most importantly, she has grown up witnessing, first hand, your love for each other and the beauty and sanctity that the marriage covenant is meant to represent and because of that, I believe, she and Matt stand a much greater chance of succeeding in their own relationship, the beginning of which I also feel blessed to have witnessed.  Simply stated, there is much the two of you have to be proud of – not only for your exceptional daughter, but for the role your commitment, sacrifice and love played in making her so special.

I hope in the midst of the joyful chaos that surrounded this past weekend or perhaps this week, as the reality of it all begins to settle in, you will find some quiet time to reflect on what a GREAT JOB you did as parents – and indulge yourselves with a quick pat on the back!



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