Monday, September 5, 2011

The Early Days

I always bragged I had the best mother in law and in my opinion I did. I didn't have horror stories like friends of mine did about their mother in laws.  The day I met Miss Paula and her then boyfriend, Ernie I knew that she was a great person and regardless what happend with my relationship with Daniel {we had been together for two weeks} I was glad I had the opportunity to meet her.

Paula grew up a farm girl in a small Delaware town, she helped on her parents' cattle farm. She did everything, bailed hay, cleaned the stalls, cut grass and picked peppers in the hot summers.  While she loved her farm life, she always knew she wanted to be a dental hygienist. {After she passed I was going through some things with Daniel's aunt and we came across a poster she did in elementary school, she said when she grew up she wanted to help people take care of teeth.}

Baby Paula

Growing Up On The Farm

 After high school, Paula went to the local community college and got her certificate to become a dental assistant. She then got married and had Daniel {my husband}.  When Daniel was three, Paula and Daniel's dad divorced.  Paula had Daniel during the week while his dad got him every other weekend. Paula made sure Daniel never went without anything, he was still involved in extra curricular activities even though her salary as a dental assistant wasn't a lot.  She eventually decided to go back to school and when Daniel was six she graduated with an Associates Degree in Dental Hygiene.  She taught Daniel that if you want something and you work hard, you can achieve whatever you want.

A page from a scrapbook Paula's friend made Daniel
Up until Daniel was nine, Paula was a single mom. She still did a lot with Daniel, even though things were tight with one income.  She never missed a school party or school play.  She was on the sidelines at all of Daniel's soccer and baseball games. She even paid for Daniel to have guitar lessons {which he quickly lost interest in}.  Never once did she say Daniel he couldn't do something, because she couldn't afford it.  She was a wonderful mom!

When Daniel was nine, Paula met Ernie {Daniel's now step dad} through their church.  They took their realtionship slow, but eventually Ernie and his two girls moved in with Paula and Daniel. This period was tough on Daniel, he went from being the man of the house to having to share his mom with not only one person, but three. Eventually Daniel came around and he now loves Ernie and his now step sisters.

Paula & Daniel around the age of 15

Fast forward, fifteen years. Daniel and I moved in together and were engaged after only being together for nine months. Never once did I hear from Paula's mouth, "Don't you thinking you two are rushing into things?" She helped us move into our first place, a small bungalow we were renting from my grandparents.  She helped me clean and put my dishes away.  She suggested where I put things, because after all I had never lived on my own.  Not long after moving in there, Paula and Ernie sold their house twenty miles away and bought house five miles down the road from us.  Most people would hate having their in laws right down the road, but I loved it.  At least once a week we'd have them over for dinner or we'd go to dinner at their house.

Paula was a huge help with planning our wedding, she went dress shopping with my mom and I and the first time I tried on the dress she was there to witness it.  She helped me make my programs and invitations.  One of my fondest memories with her is the day before my wedding, she took me and my friend, Becky who flew in from Colorado to get pedicures and manicures.  It was nice to relax with her and get to talk to her the day before I married her son. Paula and Ernie also listened to us when they asked what we wanted to do for a rehearsal dinner.  We suggested we do something along the lines of a backyard barbecue/crab feast at their house.  We wanted something laid back for our friends and family especially since the next day would be more formal.  Paula and Ernie granted our wish and had tents set up {with heaters, since it was chilly the night of our rehearsal dinner on May 18th} and had three bushels of crabs {which is not cheap at the beginning of crabbing season} and a local barbecue place catered it.   We had so many of our friends compliment us on how great our rehearsal dinner was.

The day of our wedding Paula was there along with my mom to help me lace up my dress. She also gave me the most heartwarming card officialy welcoming me to their family. She looked radiant in her mother of the groom dress and when she danced with Daniel there wasn't a dry eye at our reception.  Paula and Ernie were nice enough to drop us off at the airport hotel, the night before we left for our honeymoon.  She even came over to clean our house while we were gone, so we wouldn't come home to our house still a disaster from the night before our wedding when all of the girls in the bridal party slept over.


The early days of our marriage were great, like any marriage though we had our rough spots.  We ended up putting an offer on some land to build a house.  The offer was accepted and we were expected to start construction soon.  We moved out of my grandparents  rental and in with Paula and Ernie while our house was supposedly being built, this was in November of 2007 (only six months after we were married.) It was hard for me living with another family besides my own especially during Christmas.  The construction company building our house ended up having some financial problem so we ended up backing out of our contract.  I felt like there was no end in sight and that Daniel and I would live with his parents forever.

I went through a little depressed period. I hated that here I was twenty four years old, married and living with my in laws.  Daniel at the time didn't seem to have any rush to move out.  So I made one of the hardest decisions of my life, I moved out of their house and back in with my parents.  I thought I was making a point  to Daniel that I refused to live like that and he needed to  get us a house somehow or someway.  I was tired of sleeping in a single bed with my husband!   Looking back I was stubborn and I should have stuck it out. Daniel and I still saw one another every day, we ate dinner together most nights, we just didn't fall asleep at the same place.

Four months after I moved out, Memorial Day Weekend in 2008 things changed and suddenly what Daniel and I were going through seemed trivial compared to the news we were about to get....

TO BE CONTINUED...................

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