to my someday brother-in-law

While Preston and I are on sabbatical for the summer in our letter writing, I thought I would keep up with letters. These, though, are letters with a bit more of my imagined, someday life, and a little bit less of the every day. I wanted to store them up, these daydreams, because even though we should live in the present, there is something to every once in a while glancing out and imagining the horizon.

Dear soon to be brother-in-law,

I already know you, but I don’t know if you will read this before or after the moment you become my brother. It’s a funny and miraculous thing to know that my sister is going to marry you. You will become so important to us, a part of our family. I think years from now we’ll wonder about what it was like before we knew each other. For you, my soon-to-be older brother, I want to say thank you for the love you show my sister. You’ll hear it at the toast, I know, but I might be crying and I’m sure I will forget to say all the things I want to.

You teach me how to love my sister better. You take care of her, and you let her take care of you. And the way you love each other and respect each other, the way your heart and her heart seem to meet in just the right way, that teaches me what kind of love to wait for.

Thank you in advance for challenging me when you think I’m missing the boat on something. Thank you for cards and words of encouragement, for believing in me. Thank you for being protective, and for the tough conversation I am sure any someday boyfriend of mine will have with you.

Thank you for taking my sister hiking and camping and all the things we did reluctantly when we were little and driving across the Badlands. Thanks for laughing about the time I tripped over a root, fell backwards down a hill (after being warned to watch where I was going), and my dad said, “She’s hurt herself! The fool!” I can see us all, years in the future, grilling steaks on the back porch somewhere in the Midwest, the sun beating down on my (and my sister’s) pale skin, and we are all laughing. Family is like that, isn’t it? It makes you laugh more than you think possible. We fight among ourselves (and we all know how much my family loves a good debate…), but it’s often playful. And in those years ahead, somewhere in the Midwest, I’ll get corn stuck in my teeth and you’ll laugh, and we’ll all laugh, and the visits will always go by too soon.

I’ll try to be a good aunt to your kids, to love them with a big love. I will come visit more often than necessary. I will send cards with goofy pictures of my kids, if I ever have them. I will call you on Sunday afternoons or Tuesday nights, just to catch up.

My sister is one of those gifts from God I never deserved. Giving her away is harder than I thought possible, but it’s okay because it’s to you. Because I know you love her with a big heart. I know she is at home with you.

In just a few days you will be my brother-in-law. I’m praying that some of these words, however small, however simple, make you smile when you read them. I can’t wait to be family.


hilary (your soon-to-be sister-in-law)


5 thoughts on “to my someday brother-in-law

  1. You’re the bestest Hil. I will try to be the big brother you want and deserve. Thanks for writing this, we look forward to all these things too and can’t wait to see you again soon!

  2. I… love this. So much. Brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your beautiful, tender hear Hilary. πŸ™‚ Congratulations are your sister’s marriage to a great man!! My brother–my only sibling–got married in March of this year and… while it’s bittersweet letting them go, it’s the BEST feeling ever, I couldn’t happier for them! And us, for getting her as part of the family. πŸ™‚

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