Twenty-two years ago you came into my life. I will never forget that day. You were such a beautiful baby with lots of hair. As I held you in my arms I wondered what the future held for you, what kind of life you would live. I wondered if I could be a good father to you and teach you and raise you right.
When you were a year old I wrote this in my journal:
Neil sure is getting to be a rambunctious little boy. He gets into everything. You have to watch him every second. He loves to climb up onto chairs and then up onto tables. He has a lot of bad falls and bangs his head quite often. He's a good boy though. (Oct. 12, 1986)
And now, over twenty years later, I could write nearly the same thing except its cliffs and cars and bridges you climb up and jump off of! And I'm usually there helping to film the whole thing! You are definitely a young man that is cut from a different mold than most every one else. You have so many wonderful and unique talents and gifts that it excites me to watch you develop them and wonder where your life is headed. I'm excited to see what great things you will accomplish with your life.
Was raising you easy? Not by a long shot! Would I have it any other way? Never! Out of all my children I believe you have taught me the most. Yes, we butt heads a lot. You taught me patience, tolerance, acceptance, and a considerable amount of humility. These were lessons I couldn't have learned any other way. Thank you. You also gave me great memories that I will always treasure:
Your birthFeeding youBathing youRocking youTricycles and bicyclesLearning to readPlaying Peter PanYour BaptismJumps and rampsMaking your own skycoasterSleeping on the trampJr. JazzCub Scouts and pack meetingsPinewood DerbyClimbing on the roofScaring me on the roofJumping off the roofEarly morning paper routeRushing off to schoolBattles over homeworkLate nights and curfewsSkiingSkull ValleyMonte CristoMotorcyclesYellowstone ParkCamp LollBear Lake and PicklevilleLake PowellMusical productionsMaking moviesEditing, editing, editingFilm festivalsLate night talks about your movie making dreamsEagle project and court of honorDaddy DatesCarnival CruisesRed KnollsChoir concertsSchool dancesPlaying your guitarPlaying the pianoGirls, girls, girlsDatingWaiting up for you night after nightFrancis PeakNew York CityThe song "Cats in the Cradle"High School graduationSeminary graduationTijuana and surfingOrdinations: deacon, teacher, priest, elderMission CallTempleMission to SwedenEmail and lettersPicking you upSleeping in a VolvoHomecomingFeliciaEngagementWedding Day!
Thank you Neil for the life you have lived. Now you begin a new chapter that includes an eternal partner - Felicia.
Every parent's greatest fear is that their child will make the wrong decision when it comes to marriage. But from the first time I met Felicia, I knew she was someone special. As you began to see Felicia over the next few weeks I could see from the light in your eyes and the excitement in your voice that this girl had a powerful effect on you. You became happier and more confident in yourself. I watched the way she treated you and how she brought out the best in you. I secretly hoped, for your sake, that your relationship wouldn't end. My prayers have been answered. I couldn't have chosen and more suitable young lady to be my daughter-in-law. Felicia, welcome to the family!
A wedding day letter wouldn't be complete without some advice on marriage. You are a beginner and I've had 25 years of experience. So this is what I have learned:
Marriage is grand, divorce is about 10 grand.
The key to a long and happy marriage is to remember just two little words: Yes dear!
Now that you are married, Felicia will always have the last word in an argument. Any word that you add after that is by default the start of a new argument!
Remember, when you buy flowers it proves you are guilty. However, the consequences of not buying flower are far more serious!
On a more serious note, here are 15 tips that I have found to be very helpful in my marriage:
Night and Morning Prayer - to give thanks, to ask for help, to worship together.
A Daily Phone Call - to say, "I love you," to touch base, to discuss your day, to show you care.
A Weekly Date - to go out to eat, see a movie, attend a concert, go to a park, or anything to just be together.
Daily Service - pay attention to what your partner is dealing with and lend a hand.
Live On a Budget - communicate about money, stay out of debt, temper your wants, agree on your expenditures.
Listen - not only to what is said but also to what is meant.
Regular Attendance - to church each week.
Daily Scripture Reading - to continue to grow in the gospel, to have the spirit, to be more like the Savior.
Support Your Spouse - in school, career and righteous goals.
Forgive Each Other - let it go, admit you're wrong, don't hold grudges and never use the "Silent Treatment."
Patience - for tardiness, missed meals, thoughtless remarks, or imperfections.
Soft and Kind Words - gentleness, compassion, kindness, empathy for each other.
Care About Your Spouse's Family - enjoy their company, get to know them, visit them, overlook their differences.
Occasional Gifts - small tokens of your love, notes, gifts of service or time.
Love with All Your Heart - "Thou shalt love they wife with all they heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else." (D&C 42:22) This means no wandering eyes.
Well, there you have it, my advice to having a long and happy marriage.
Neil, I'm so pleased with who you are and your choice of Felicia as your eternal companion. You are a credit to our family. May you and Felicia have a wonderful, prosperous, exciting and happy life together.