Meeting your girlfriend’s mother can be an intimidating experience. But for Blake Dabish, it was the start of a wonderful friendship.
Dabish is dating the daughter of Laura Van Zomeren, and the added perk of friendship with his girlfriend’s mother is very real.
“She’s a very special human,” Dabish said of Van Zomeren. “She did such a great job raising the woman that I fell in love with. I can tell that she cares so much about her kids and her family and the people that are in her life. I am lucky to know her.”
Van Zomeren is a therapist who works with people of all ages and from all backgrounds. This includes the difficult, but very noble, task of running therapy sessions with children from broken homes.
“I admire her for her acceptance of everyone and her humbleness,” said Dabish. “How she puts others before herself and the work she does in her profession and in her community is amazing.”
Born in Maryville, Missouri, Van Zomeren went to college at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and has lived in Washington, D.C., and in Philadelphia. She moved to Ypsilanti, Michigan, to raise her family and has lived there for over 20 years.
Her parents are Wayne and Ann Van Zomeren, and she has one sister named Kelly and a brother named Thane. Van Zomeren is married to Jacob Mackenzie and the couple has two children, Lake and Tate Mackenzie, plus a 13-year-old dog, Sasquatch.
“Laura loves her family and cares so much for her kids,” said Dabish. “She loves and supports them with whatever they choose. Lake and Tate are amazing people and I know they are that way because of the work she did to raise them.”
When Van Zomeren and Dabish met, there was an immediate connection.
“When my girlfriend introduced us, I could tell right away Laura was very sweet and kind and accepting,” Dabish said. “She did everything she could to make sure I was welcome and felt comfortable in her home.”
The two have enjoyed going on boat rides, watching sunsets, and playing all kinds of board and card games together.
Van Zomeren loves to go on walks, spend time on the lake, and experience nature. She kayaks, swims, plays volleyball, and supports her children by attending their sporting events and activities.
Dabish asserts that Van Zomeren is a staple in the Ypsilanti community. “Everyone knows and adores her, and she loves them,” he said.
Multiple times, Van Zomeren has gone above and beyond to help those she loves.
Her niece was getting married and couldn’t afford a lavish wedding, so Van Zomeren stepped in and planned almost everything. She bought the bride’s dress, officiated the ceremony, hosted the reception in her backyard, coordinated the food, and was the set up and cleanup crew.
“She did everything in her power to make it a magical night,” said Dabish. “And it was.”
When her daughter wrecked her knee in a water-skiing accident, Van Zomeren was there for her for everything. From bathing to keeping her company and much, much more, Van Zomeren did everything to help her daughter while she was incapacitated for almost a year.
Van Zomeren is always looking out for other people and caring for animals. She lets people who have no place to go for living or for holidays come stay with her and her family, and she often fosters animals.
“Laura is the sweetest, most humble person I’ve ever met,” said Dabish. “She always puts others before herself and does everything she can to make people happy.”
Dabish finds Van Zomeren to be a wise, funny, and caring friend and mother figure. He is so grateful to be dating her daughter.
“One of the best human beings I’ve ever met in my life,” Dabish said. “She’s my favorite person to talk to. She’s so interesting, intelligent and sweet. Such a great mother, person and friend.”