We left John off at the university, and a few weeks later when he was home for the weeekend doing his laundry, he told me this:
"All the cute girls are in the elementary ed program."
Okay, then. Good to know.
Next time he came home, he had her with him. (And she was cute, it's true. Not gonna lie.)
After Christmas that year he asked if she could stay with us. She lived with her grandparents who had gone south for the winter, and it was just her alone in the house over there--a little scary, a little lonely... did we mind?
No, of course not. She could bunk with Maria and that'd be fine.
I honestly thought, given the loud and somewhat obnoxious family that we are, that she'd probably run screaming from the place within 24 hours.
She never left.
She continued to bunk with Maria for weekends and school breaks, summer vacations, all the way until she, John, and Dan got an apartment in the weeks before their wedding.
Every night about 4 am, James used to come and get his dad to warm his bed back up. After half an hour or so, I'd hear the dad snoring and go to fetch him back to his own bed. There he'd be crowded into the (full sized) bottom bunk with Maria and James, stuffed animal shoved under his head, snoring. Dannell would be asleep (maybe faking) in the top bunk.
More than once I thought, if this isn't the definition of the family bed, I don't know what is.
Dannell is kind and conscientious, determined, diplomatic, and completely devoted to John and this whole family. She takes beautiful care of our grandsons--even makes sure they are polite. She's been nothing but nice to Jay and me for over a decade now. Who could ever ask for more?
I'm dying to bake her a birthday cake this week, if we could only figure out a time to sing and eat. (The first week of school is a little hectic for preschool teachers.)
Happy Birthday, Honey. We do love you so. love, Val and Jay