They don’t come any better…

Anna and Joe

My only regret in having a son-in-law join our family is that he is the only one I’ve got.  I’ve got no one else to compare him with.  But at first blush, I’d have to say he’s going to be a tough one to beat.

He has been a vital part of our family for eight years.  Even when I first met him, I was hopeful!  He confided in me that his primary occupational goal was to own and manage his own nursing home.  To have him personally take care of me during my declining years was a comforting visual, one I still cling to.

Unfortunately, there has been a lot of water under the bridge since then.  Rather than open a nursing home, he chose instead, to gently, but ever so subtly, nudge me out of the business.  I’m now on the outside looking in wondering how I ended up holding this bag.

On second thought, I’m wondering how I was able to hang on as long as I did.  Joe is one of those technologically driven entrepreneurs who is completely at home in a world that is admittedly foreign to me.

I’m a brick and mortar guy, someone that still thinks in tangible terms of making something with your hands, and then finding a market to sell it to.  It wasn’t old school in 1976 but it is becoming increasingly old school in 2012.

Joe lives in the iCloud (don’t ask me what that is) where he recognizes opportunities of impacting the market place by offering services rather than products.  He envisions a world that he can impact by enabling others to grasp onto ideas that he births, rather than products, and thereby empowering others to make things for themselves and market them without relying on him to do so.

We’ve all grown to appreciate Joe for reasons far beyond what he brings to the business.

He loves our firstborn.  The baby we birthed in New York City 36 years ago has grown into a woman with a strong identity of her own.  She recognized that her life would be more complete with a life partner.  They met in a Starbucks in Portland.  The rest is just the beginning of history.

In my marriage, my wife is the nurturer.  I would never argue that point.  In Joe’s marriage I would say it is a toss.  He cares deeply for Anna, and shows it in countless ways.  And he never wavers in his commitment to her.

On road trips Joe and I have taken together (and yes, he’s had the privilege of rooming with me more than once) I’ve had no choice but to eaves drop conversations he’s had on the phone with his Dad.  Being a Lutheran who grew up in North Dakota with his Norwegian family, it is obvious where he picked up his wholesome, respectful sense of decency.

I become impatient with people who ask me how I was able to plan my life.  I never planned any of this.  I’m simply blessed, starting with my wife that I waited seven years for.  I earned the nickname Jake honestly.  I didn’t plan to have a son-in-law like Joe.  God simply dropped him into our lives.

Grateful is not an adequate enough word to describe my response.


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