Finding an appropriate way to sincerely say, "Thank You".
I'd like to find a nice way for my wife and I to thank my father in law, but I'm not sure how.
First off, a little background information. Without going into a long story, my wife's father was pushed out of her life when she was young. Since we married, they reconnected and although we live in different parts of the country, they keep in touch and we visit each other several times per year. As a part of their reconnection, they agreed to keep the past in the past, only moving forward.
This weekend, her father visited us and last night took us out for a nice dinner for Christmas. We all had a good time. As usual, it was nice to see him again. This morning before leaving, he wanted to take a minute to be serious. He explained to us how he knows that they planned on leaving the past in the past, but there are still some things that he has had a difficult time dealing with. He commended her on how mature she is and how proud of her he is. He explained his regret for not having been there for her as she grew up or supporting her financially through the years, especially through college. He then gave her a VERY generous check to help pay off the remainder of her student loans. He didn't want it to detract from her self-accomplishment of putting herself though college, but insisted that we accept the gift. This was completely unexpected and we both GREATLY appreciate it. The money will completely pay off her remaining student loans and the remainder will go towards building our future together.
The gift is extremely helpful, but now we'd like to find a way to appropriately thank him for a present that he may have felt a personal obligation to give. Reflecting on a conversation during dinner last night, I get the feeling that he wouldn't feel that sending him something in return would be necessary. Given that this wasn't a simple "Christmas present," we would like to find some sort of way to let him know how appreciative we still are. For the parents reading this, try to put yourself in his shoes and imagine doing this for a daughter that you have only reconnected with for a few years. If anything, what would be a nice way to know that your daughter and son in law appreciate your generosity?
Update: December 12, 2011.
Thank you to everyone who responded to my question. There was some extremely well thought out responses with ideas and insight! One of those times I wish I had more stars. To say thank you for his generosity, I think a hand written letter thanking him and letting him know that he will always be welcome in our home would be best. Thanks again!
- Asked by 20something
, A Mr. Married Guy, Male, 29-35, Consulting