I have been very fortunate to have an endless supply of solid people in my life. People who have put up with me. People who have taught me lessons through experience. People who I could try and thank through a blog posting, but Internet text would never do the job. Life is tough. It always will be. And there is one person/family who keeps getting kicked in the teeth and getting right back up for more; the Hoovers.
19 years ago I was introduced to my future sister, Laura Nicoll Bybee, who was standing in the greeting line in front of her mother's casket. Yeah, how many ten-year old girls can say that they've done that before? I had no idea that her Dad and my Mom would be getting married a few months later. I had no idea that she would be someone who would be an icon in my life. I had no idea, and neither did she, what kind of curveball's would be thrown her direction.
Growing up, she seemed to follow in the stereotypical Mormon cookie cutter lifestyle of graduating, finding a stud named Dan Hoover, a returned missionary to be married to, and starting life on their own. But how many of those stereotypical young couples have to bury their firstborn child after having him for only 3 1/2 months? That doesn't sound too cookie-cutter to me. Add to that, I don't think Laura had any idea that 3 months later her Dad was going to pull the trigger on a short-barreled shotgun that his lips were wrapped around. Stereotypical? Not for many families out there.
How many would give up at that point in life? I probably would have. 99.99% of anyone with a beating pulse would have raised up the white flag, curled up into the fetal position in the corner of the room and thrown in the towel while a flood of tears poured out of their eyes. Heck, after enduring that kind of stuff I would have checked myself into a building that had white padded walls and a hug myself jacket. But she didn't. She's not like that. She pushed through it. She pursued and finished her RN degree, meanwhile raising a family with incredible kids. Wyatt Earp would be giving her the medal of toughness after what she has done in her life.
She keeps on going. Laura, her tough, LSU-addicted husband Dan, and her three kids with one on the way; Jackson, Peyton, and Bailey. Laura has an attitude that I want whoever decides to put up with me to have. She's raising a family who I will respect and admire for the rest of my days. A family who keeps going no matter how many obstacles get thrown their direction. A family who undoubtedly has the respect of Job.
Thank you Dan and Laura, I owe you more than a blog post can repay you for.