To a very courageous woman:
My name is Ashley and I am an artist. I want to do craft projects with my kids at the kitchen table some day. I want to make costumes for Halloween and buy new backpacks for the first day of school. I want to invent something called “finger-painting Tuesday” and throw elaborate birthday parties in the backyard. There isn’t a single day in my marriage when I haven’t thought about what an amazing father Ryan would be. He is patient, he is kind, and he has the most fantastic laugh. He loves math and science and will have an answer some day when our child asks, “Where does rain come from?” I want to watch Ryan become a dad and I want to know the joys of being a mom. This is my dream.
Ryan and I met 7 years ago when my little brother joined Ryan’s softball team. The tall, handsome guy on 1st base finally met the tall, brown-haired girl in the bleachers and went on a 3-hour lunch date. We talked about how much we love to travel – Ryan’s scuba-diving adventures in Mexico and my semester in London. We talked about our parents who continue to demonstrate what true love looks like – Ryan’s parents have been married for 38 years and mine just celebrated 40. We talked about the love we have for our siblings and extended families – Ryan is so close to his cousins that they’re truly more like brothers and my family gathers every Thursday for burger night. We talked about the traditions we loved as kids and our desire to pass them on – Ryan’s family made regular trips to Disneyland and mine took summer vacations to places like Mount Rushmore and Estes Park.
In 2005, Ryan and I recited vows of love and hope for a big happy family. And in our five years together, we have remodeled our house room-by-room; traveled to Greece, Mexico and India; spoiled our favorite (and only) niece with princess parties and twirly dresses; and jumped at every opportunity to host game nights, birthday parties, and baby showers for our amazing network of family and friends. But we continue to dream about the day when we can share all of this with a child.
We can’t pretend to know how you feel right now, but we can assure you that your child will know joy, imagination, and unconditional love because of you. We will say your name in our prayers every night for your strength and sacrifice – giving your child the life you felt you could not. Your child will have every opportunity and years of happiness because a very brave woman made a very brave decision.
Ryan and Ashley