She is Happy Anyway

These are my in-laws, Dan and LaNae:


I could write volumes about how incredible they are and about the things they’ve taught me about how to live and how to be in the short 3 1/2 years that I’ve known them.  My father in-law was hit by a car 23 years ago, and wasn’t supposed to survive.  He did, and though he has many physical handicaps, he lives life to its fullest.  He’s taught me so much because of the way he deals with his disabilities.  He is definitely a candidate for #1 Brave Boy.  BUT we’re talking about Brave Girls here, so I want to tell you about the love of his life,  LaNae who is one of the bravest girls I know and who has handled difficult things in her life with more grace than could possibly be expected from a person.  In her attitude, her expectations, her sense of humor, her faith and the way she lives her life she is one of the best examples I’ve got.

everything is going to work out beautifully

A lot of the things I know about LaNae, I’ve learned from my husband Jeff.  He was only two when his dad got hurt, so he’s only ever known a dad who needs help with almost everything he does.  Two years old, with no formed ideas about life and the way it should be – still dependent on his mother to teach him everything he would need to know to make it through life.  I know that during the time just after Dan’s accident and at many other times in his life, he looked to his mother to know how he should react.  I know she taught him well because just after we got married, I asked Jeff if he ever felt mad that his dad couldn’t play catch with him, or that he had to help his dad instead of his dad helping him.  He answered me matter-of-factly, “No…guess I never thought about it” and that was that.   My husband is an exceptionally good man, but you can’t tell me he came up with that from his own experience.  He never thought about it because his mother never talked about it.

hope is a verb

Instead of looking back with regret, she spends her life looking forward in hope.  She doesn’t feel anger or resentment or spend her time wishing things could be the way they were before the accident.  I have never heard a cruel word spoken against the young man who hit Dan nor have I heard a complaint at the way things are.  What I hear from both Dan AND LaNae are acceptance of the way things are, hope in a better life day by day and faith that everything will work out the way it is supposed to.

Before I really knew my husband or his family, I knew of them.   Without knowing about my father-in-law’s disabilities, I knew that in the years before Jeff and I started dating, they took family trips to Europe and Hawaii.  You might think a tragedy of the magnitude this family had experienced would make a person into a hermit of sorts.  Not by choice, but by the amount of effort it would take to be any other way.  I mean, thinking about putting my one-year-old into his car seat is almost enough to keep me home unless I absolutely have to go out.  But not LaNae.  Consider going to the movies (which they do for date night every Friday.)  First she helps him get his coat on, then waits as he makes his way to the car {something he can do on his own, but it takes him a  l o n g  time}.  While he’s getting in the car, she hefts his wheelchair into the trunk and they’re off.  She drives.  At the theater, she unloads his wheelchair and waits for him to get unbuckled and get out.  She wheels him in and pays then they make their way to their seats where she looks for a seat that’s not too close to the front, but not up too many stairs either.  She has taken Dan everywhere from Europe to China to Hawaii, across the country for bi-annual family reunions, camping, on hikes (I’ll have to find the pictures to prove that) and everywhere in between.  She has not let the fact that her husband is disabled stop her from doing anything!  She is successful in business and even went back to school a couple of years ago for her MBA.  All while caring for her children, her home and her dear husband.

focus on solutions

LaNae has learned to wake up an extra 15 minutes early every morning so she can put Dan’s socks and shirt on {the only parts he can’t do} before she goes to work.  She is his translator when he needs it, his chauffeur, his therapist and his cheerleader.  She nurtures her family and provides for them and most of all has shown them through her example how to live fully.  She is helpful, hopeful, cheerful, optimistic and loyal.  She is everything a brave girl should be and I’m proud that my babies get to call her grandma.


  1. Colleen Anderson says:

    Kallie, Dan and LaNae are some of our dearest, truest friends. We went through a lot of tough times with them and also many, many happy times. My husband was with Dan when the accident happened. My second to youngest daughter’s middle name is LaNae, after LaNae. She is somewhat of a little spitfire and so it my sweet Karmin LaNae. You have truely captured LaNae in this blog. Keep up the good writing Brave Girl. Sincerely, Colleen Anderson

  2. Colleen Anderson says:

    PS Ask LaNae about a movie and a sleepover at the Andersons. One of my fondest memories.

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