I have known Mariel Grimm for 16 years after we first met at Saint Croix Lutheran High School. I knew her then as a polite, friendly, and caring individual who immediately attracted many friends due to her outgoing personality. She married my twin brother Andy in 2006, and I have had the absolute privilege of calling her my sister-in-law while getting to know her on a much deeper level.
Mariel’s selfless attitude towards every interpersonal interaction has always astounded me. She is always willing to sacrifice her limited free time to help strangers, people at her church, friends, and family with whatever assistance she can offer. As a testament to her caring disposition, while pumping breast milk for her own children, she selflessly took the time and financial commitment to bottle the extra milk she had and distribute it to women and children in many places in Minnesota, other places in the United States, and her home country of the Dominican Republic. Her faith in Jesus Christ is also always evident in her life in everything she does. Every person that has met Mariel has felt warmth emanating from her. This warmth is displayed in her honesty, strength, humor, patience, and friendliness. My family is all the better for being able to call her a part of it.
When it comes to Mariel’s own children, she has always been an astonishing natural. It is evident that she is raising her own children to be respectful, caring, polite, empathetic, helpful, well-behaved, intelligent, and outwardly Christian. I have had the privilege of babysitting all four of her children on many occasions over the last 8 years and have always had an overwhelmingly positive experience. Her children speak of their time at home with the most exciting, loving, and content terms. They are eager to describe their homeschooling time with Mariel because she is very skilled at keeping it interesting and stimulating. Mariel has created such an atmosphere of love and support in her family that her children often got homesick only after several hours away from home with me. In the hundreds of hours I have spent with Mariel and her children, I have never, ever heard her shout, never even remotely hint at violence, never lose her patience, never lay hands on her children, and never say anything negative or hurtful to them. Even on the days when the children are exhausted and may be distracted, disobeying, or overly energetic, Mariel has always defused the situation with calmness, grace, and positive reinforcement that is profoundly evident in how her children act wherever they are – public or private.
As for Mariel’s interaction with other children, all of the above rings just as true. She has 6 other nieces and nephews (the children of my siblings) for whom she has also sacrificed immensely. She has graciously babysat all of those children on many occasions and lovingly cared for them, fed them, taken them on outings, and hosted them for sleepovers. All of these children are vocal about how they absolutely love Mariel and her children. This wouldn’t be possible if Mariel didn’t facilitate a wonderful atmosphere for these children to thrive in. Also, Mariel treated the children that she cared for as a daycare provider as her own in every way. Her natural skills and traits as a mother that I have already mentioned caused her to treat these children as if they were biologically hers. With every single child that Mariel has spent time with, I can say that I saw first-hand that she has taught them, instructed them, played with them, cared for them, set a good example for them, supported them, and has done all she can to help develop them into wonderful people.
I have stood by Mariel all through her recent trials and will continue to do so until God sees fit to bring the truth to light and dispel this darkness that has consumed her and her family for so long.