FIL's real name is Mike, but I've always been a little weird about calling adults by their first name, and when the hubs and I got married and I was officially a part of the family it started to be a little odd calling him Mr. Lawler like I used to. So I started calling him father in law, and he started calling me daughter in law, and we eventually shortened it to FIL (like Phil) and DIL (like the pickles, which I suppose is fitting given how much I love pickles). The little nickname has stuck enough that this weekend when I introduced him to my sister's boyfriend I said "and this is FIL... I mean, Mr. Lawler. But I guess you can call him FIL if you want." Adorbs.
The thing you might not know about FIL is that he is genuinely one of my favorite people in the whole entire world. To say that I was blessed when I scored this guy as my father in law would be the understatement of the century, and I would think that all of my friends, my sister, my dad and several others in my family would agree, given that they too have spent a ton of time with him and he tends to treat every single one of them like family as well. The fact that I feel 100% at home when we're at his house is kind of a given since Dan and I have been together so long, but knowing that I can bring my sister over there with me to hang out with our nieces and have dinner and she is just as comfortable is really awesome to me. When Dan, Manda, my cousin Allie and I were road tripping to Florida a few years ago and leaving on Christmas, we all went to South Bend to have Christmas dinner with FIL's extended family, and I know for a fact that even Allie (who had never met any of them besides FIL before) felt completely welcome. That's just how FIL and his entire family is, and I consider myself ridiculously lucky to have them in my life.
When FIL turned 50, his birthday bash was at the place that Dan and I eventually held our wedding reception. Although we had just started dating a few weeks earlier than the party, when I complimented the small blue Bolingbrook pin he was wearing that night he took it off, handed it to me, told me that it was a very special pin and not just anyone gets to have one, and then said I had to keep it forever. Well I did keep it, and my grandmother pinned it inside of my wedding dress for me as one of my "something blue" items on our big day. It was my little way of making sure FIL knew how special he is to me, and I was honored to wear that pin given that hanging out in Bolingbrook with him has been a huge part of mine and Dan's relationship over the years.
So, FIL, if you're reading this - I hope your birthday is extra special and spent with a good bottle of wine or a seasonal beer. I am so lucky to be a part of your family.