For those of you who read my blog post about being welcomed into Cory’s family, you may recall a book I referenced titled Just One of the Family. I couldn’t find the book online to show the cover, but I remembered what it looked like: the elderly farm couple surrounded by their farm animal family, posing for a photo taken by a photographer under an old-timey blanket thing that photographers used to use.
A couple weeks after I published that post, I came home from work one afternoon and saw that I had a package stuffed in my mailbox. I hadn’t ordered anything, so I was puzzled. I was further puzzled when I saw my future mother-in-law’s name – Renee – and return address. For some reason, my first thought was that she wanted to send some of Cory’s old stuff that she thought I might want to see – think photos, elementary school projects, etc. I had no idea what it could be.
After struggling with the easy-open envelope (I realized just in the nick of time that they make those things with little strings to pull along a perforated edge for a reason), I saw the spine of a thin, hardback children’s book. I pulled it out to reveal the image of an elderly farm couple – the elderly farm couple – and their farm animal family. Just One of the Family.
I’m not going to lie and say my eyes didn’t get misty, especially when I read the note she had written inside, assuring me that I’m truly one of their family (with a heart drawn around the word “family” for emphasis), with love from Cory’s parents and his sister Emily’s family.
Equally adorable was the “This book belongs to…” sticker of a hippopotamus in a tutu on the inside cover. Below, Renee had written “Monica Spees (Ramsey).”
Later, I called my mom, and we both had a little cry over it. We’re sissies, I know. But I can’t help but be happy about this family I’m marrying in to. And now one of my favorite childhood books has an even deeper meaning.