Not many people are lucky enough to have a mom who is so genuinely devoted to her children and grandchildren, always making sure their needs are met. I'm lucky enough to have two. I would be ungrateful if I didn't write a post dedicated to my mother-in-law, Jan. She really is my second mom. I tell people often how I lucked out with the Schipaanboord family. Jake and I decided we wanted to get married, even before I had met his parents. This could have turned out very badly, meeting the man of my dreams, and then finding out my in-laws were a nightmare. Didn't happen. I met Jan and Dale in December of 2000. I pulled into Jake's parents' driveway and we immediately walked across the street to their church for a ward Christmas dinner. My heart was wildly pounding, beating a million beats a minute. When I walked into the cultural hall, I saw Jan, smiling, arms open. Instantly I felt calm and at ease. I immediately felt apart of the Schipaanboord family. I can't imagine how scared they were, meeting their future daughter-in-law for the first time, hoping I wasn't a "crazy" who had stolen their son's heart. Jan and Dale were very supportive of us from the start, and that love and support continues to be there, nearly 10 years later. They have been to all of our childrens' births, they come to preschool programs, dance recitals, and primary programs in Sacrament Meeting. They have planned awesome vacations for the family to St. George, Huntington Beach, California, and Lincoln City, Oregon. Jan invites the family over a couple times a month for Sunday dinner, cooking elaborate meals for all 20 of us. She babysits when asked, cooks your favorite meal for your birthday, can fix anything, is a great listener, and is definitely the glue that holds the Schipaanboord's together. She is an amazing seamstress, loves to be outdoors, and can really do just about anything. She always seems to have a million things going on in her life, and yet, you can't tell. She doesn't get stressed easily and manages to keep her life, and everyone else's, on track. She works 4 days a week, takes care of her dad, is the Relief Society president in her ward, goes to physical therapy every week for her shoulders, gives meals, visits the sick, and still is able to be a wonderful wife, mom, and grandma on top of all that. I can't tell you how many times I have called her for a recipe, or needing advice on how to fix something, or just called because it had been more than a week since we had last talked and I had missed her. She is not only my second mom, but also my dear friend. I can talk to her about anything and I never feel like she is judging me. Who can say that about their mother-in-law??! Not very many.
After getting the news about the cancer, I left the doctor's office around 12pm. At 12:20pm Jake was home with me. Jan pulled in right behind him, around 12:30pm. She had left work the second she found out about the news, and headed straight to my house. Jake, Jan, and I cried together. It was a vulnerable and very sweet moment. Dale got to our house as soon as he could, leaving his busy office and work unfinished. He had already called a doctor friend of his, asking all about this type of cancer. Dale and Jake were able to give me a blessing within just a few hours of learning I had the tumor. I know I have great in-laws. But in that moment I felt I had been given choice in-laws. With my parents being two states away, Jan and Dale really have become my mom and dad this past decade, living only 17 minutes away from us. They have seen us through college graduations, births, multiple jobs, stresses, joys, they have been here for it all. And when Jan heard about the cancer and the upcoming surgery her response was "I'll do whatever you need me to do." She offered to take a whole week off of work. She babysat the kids the entire day of my surgery, just so Jake and my mom could be by my side (even though I'm sure she wanted to be there with me, too.) She visited me nearly every day I was in the hospital (Dale, too) and the days she couldn't make it, she called multiple times. She brought me Paradise Bakery soup and a sandwich one day and I was in heaven. (You can only endure hospital food for so long before your tastebuds begin to dull and you feel nauseous at the sight of those hospital trays!) She spent hours and hours in my hospital room, listening to my hopes and fears, talking to me about her day. Jan and Dale were the first to bring me flowers, and they were beautiful and lasted the whole two weeks I was there. Fitting that they were the first flowers to come into my room, and the last to leave. That's just how Jan and Dale are. They are both there from the beginning, and stick it out until the very end. I'm so lucky. I know I am. I call Jan and Dale "mom" and "dad" because they truly are my parents. I'm thankful for their examples, and so grateful they raised such a righteous son to be my husband and father of my children. Thank you for being the "dream" in-laws. I think I've made all daughter-in-laws out there jealous. ;) Thanks, Mom. Thanks, Dad. I love you both.
I'm a strong-willed woman, wife, mom of three, LDS, U of U grad, runner, gymnastics fanatic, card maker, piano player, slightly OCD, singer, chocolate lover, office manager, cancer survivor, and friend. I started this blog to keep in touch with family and friends, and it slowly turned into my own personal therapeutic outlet. Nothing better than typing out your thoughts, trying to make sense of life.