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Finding an appropriate way to sincerely say, "Thank You".
Family & Parenting / 12:07 PM - Monday December 12, 2011

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

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Send him the final statement showing a "Zero" balance on the student loans... As a parent, knowing that my "gift" was used in a manner that actually supports my child's future would be all the thanks I could ever ask for...

- Response by siouxzen, A Creative, Female, Who Cares?, Los Angeles, Self-Employed

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Your story said it all!
He "lost" all those years, of her growing up.
Have your wife go on Shutterfly and make her
Dad a memory book, of her young years.
Then she could add a few words to each picture.
Towards the end of the book, add a few wedding pictures,
then if you have any, a picture of her with him.
Title the book " Life is Good" or whatever she wants, or course.
This book will mean more to him than a million dollars, or
a thousand thank you's!
Your wife could then give him photo books for Father's Day,
His Birthday, Christmas and just because, I love you!
Then of course, lots & lots of pictures with his future
Grandchildren, which he will treasure those books, for sure!

- Response by helpful5714, A Thinker, Female, Who Cares?, Self-Employed

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Community Rating: Community Star

The gift was for her. It was his way of saying thank you to her for reconnecting with him. It's a father/daughter thing. He just wants her to continue loving him. You are doing the right thing to invite him to your home, and letting them be together.

This is between him and her. Accepting his visits is the glue that is holding them together. When he visits, you take him out to lunch and ask about his life and act like he is important to the both of you. That's all that is needed.

She needs to continue to be in his life because he obviously wants her to, and his gift said that. Even tho you are married, she still has a separate relationship with her Father, so this is between them. Your way to thank him is to continue to invite him to your home and welcome him. He is trying to make up for not being in her life in the past.



- Response by parent123, A Thinker, Female, 66 or older, Retired

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You know, don't bother giving a gift to him. He doesn't want one because it really isn't a gift. It's what he should have been paying through her lifetime. What he would absolutely love is a card from her telling him how happy she is that he's back in her life again and how she expects it to be permanent and for their relationship to continue to grow. I'll bet nothing you could ever give to him would mean as much to him as that....

- Response by patresi, An Intellectual Guy, Male, Who Cares?, Who Cares?

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That's a difficult question and situation but I'll give it a shot:

Years ago, I had a similar situation but not nearly to the extent that your wife had/does but similar.

I don't know if it's still an option but I sent my mom an open, round-trip ticket to come visit us in Alaska.
Because she was a senior-citizen, it was greatly discounted.

She came to Alaska and we all had a great time.

The point was, "You're welcome to come...anytime."

- Response by jenny12, A Career Woman, Female, 46-55, Other Profession

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My mom offered to pay off my debts. I told her no because I didn't want to be in your position - Having to think of an appropriate way to say thank you.

But because your FIL did.... My suggestion would be 2 fold
1. Give him the opportunity to play a larger part in your life. Thus, the open ended plane ticket is nice.
2. Show him that his gift is not something you're taking without thoughts for the future. Thus, save the money that your wife would have been paying for student loans and start a college savings account for your kid. Don't have a kid? Save it anyway for when you do have one to show that you guys are planning for your kid's future too.

- Response by inotnuts, A Father Figure, Male, 36-45, Newark, Retired

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Believe it or not, no thanks are necessary. He didnt' do it for that, and any thng you do to "thank" him will hurt his feelings.

He wanted to right a wrong he did to your wife. He never paid child support, never supported her in any way, and if he could,he would give her every dime he's never given her mother.

This is his way of making up for the wrongs he did in the past.

I look at it like a 12-step program. He wanted to make amends.

Don't thank him. Just LOVE him.

- Response by hnygrl, A Career Woman, Female, 46-55, Managerial

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The first thing I was going to suggest was pictures of her graduation and such and the Shutterfly suggestion that another member is a great gift we have done this o few times for my Mom and she loves them.


- Response by seasons4, A Sportif, Female, 46-55, Financial / Banking

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You don't have to buy anything.

A well written letter will mean more than any meaningless consumer item that will almost definitely end up collecting dust someday.

Genuine words from a grateful heart will last forever. That's what I do when I want to say thank you. My grandma forced my dad, cousin and everyone else who came in contact with her to listen to her read it...while sobbing. I do need to apologize to them for that.

- Response by vabyss, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 29-35, Who Cares?

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