This post is part of a series I'm calling The Mother's Project, where I will be highlighting the incredible moms in my life throughout the month of May. Check back next week for more posts!
Paula is my mother-in-law. Many of you probably think I'm including this because it's obligatory and it would be offensive not to have a post about her. You're probably thinking of the typical in-law relationships and how they are awkward and weird and forced. But Paula (and Kelly, my father-in-law) and I skipped that whole phase ...
I moved into their home four years ago when I came to Colorado, jobless and homeless, just following their son because he promised it would all work out. They literally accepted me with open arms, helped me unpack, and fed me for a month while I searched the state for jobs.
I would often wake up in the morning and amble downstairs in my pajamas while Paula would make me a latte. She would offer breakfast and then maybe a walk with the dogs. We talked for hours those first few weeks. I feel like I got to know the rest of Travis. He had done a good job catching me up to speed in the year we dated, but Paula provided so much insight into how he came to be the person he was.
That summer was a whirlwind ... I got an internship after two weeks, a job after three, engaged, and I found a friend's basement to live in until Trav and I got married just four months after I got there. Paula would tear up with excitement after each piece of exciting news. It was like having my own personal cheerleader, encouraging me through one of the most overwhelming periods of my life.
I have many pictures of Paula and I together and I could go on and on about how she's been an excellent Colorado mother to me. She has given me countless rides to the airport to see my own family, even though that might mean we miss a holiday with hers. She has accompanied me to multiple doctor's appointments where I was too drugged to drive myself. (Doctors gave me the drugs ... it was legal.) She invites us into her home constantly for meals and wine and now to use their unbelievable massage chair. She is everything to me that she has always been for Travis and she has loved me unconditionally from the start. You can't ask for more than that in a mother-in-law.
The reason I chose pictures of Travis though, is because her role as a mother to him has blessed me more than anything. Travis cleans way more than I do. If I cook, he starts doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen as soon as we're finished (that one might actually be from you Kelly). He does the laundry. He checks in with me weekly to make sure we're creating the life we imagined.
It's more than chivalry though. There are so many things that I love about Travis that have trickled down from Paula. His fantastic taste in music (from Frank Sinatra to Michael Jackson), his affinity for puzzles and college-level vocabulary, his love of traveling (they took him to Europe before he was two!) ... they share so many of those interests. She raised him to be rich in culture and faith, but gave him so much freedom to find his own way.
So the true gift of my relationship with Paula isn't entirely how well she treats me. It's how well I am loved by Travis. Thank you, Paula, for giving me a man like him and raising him with such integrity and intention. For that, I can never express my gratitude.