“The next girl you bring home, is the girl you’re going to marry” I told Daniel after becoming tired of meeting various girlfriends who seemed to come and go in rapid succession. Fast forward to December 2015 and my first meeting with Rachel. “Hi future mother-in-law, so pleased to meet you, I’ve been so excited”. That first meeting is imprinted in my mind. As any mother-in-law will tell you, meeting your son’s future wife can be a nerve racking experience but Rachel made it so easy for me.

Within ten minutes, it felt like she had been part of our family for years. She breezed into our home and I quickly realised that she was a woman after my own heart as she brought in bag, after bag after bag! Like me, Rachel does not travel lightly but I was soon to discover Rachel’s generosity, as those bags contained carefully chosen gifts for all of the family. She helped herself to a beer, offered to help to make dinner and clear up after. She was a revelation and I immediately fell in love with her and was delighted that she had agreed to marry my son!

Rachel taught me so much. I pride myself on my empathy, intuitiveness and joie de vivre, but Rachel made me look like an amateur. I quickly realised that my beautiful, wonderful, thoughtful, sincere, hilarious, sassy, kooky daughter-in-law was simply the best. Rachel taught me so much. Courage, love, humility, amazing kindness, loyalty, tenacity and most importantly, never to get stressed when your suitcases go missing and you have two weddings to attend!

Although I have a supportive family and friends, Rachel strengthened our family bond. She loved and recognised the importance of family and brought Daniel properly back into our lives, (he was frequently missing in action), and for that I will be eternally grateful.

The Deans, a Hoyle and a Stringfellow have also been lucky to have acquired a whole new family, (Rachel’s family), and keeping an ongoing bond between both families, will ensure that Rachel continues to play a huge part in our lives.

I love you Rachel!

Your favourite mother-in-law,

Leenda! Xx