My Sister and I are four years and one day apart. She is the oldest of the two. It was the plan for me to arrive on her birthday, I showed up the day before. My sister and I have always had a strong bond. She often hid her mistakes from the world, but never from me, she was my guide to understanding many of life’s twists and turns. My sister continues to be there to guide me through times of stress and confusion, comfort me through times of sadness and grief, and laugh with me as we continue this journey called life. (Picture above: Left: Me, Right: My Sister)
My parents are the originals. They married over fifty years ago, had two children, and now have six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. My parents showed their love and affection in very different ways, my mother being an introvert and my father is more of the family extrovert.
My mom loved, nurtured and cared about me by taking care of me. When I say taking care of me, I feel there may need to be some explanation; mom would make sure we ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day and a bedtime snack. You had three different sets of clothes clean, folded and ready for play, school, or church. After your bath each night my mom would sit and roll your hair on sponge rollers and get up each morning to fix it, so you looked perfect before walking out the door even to play. My mom showed her love in a massive way through all the things she did for me everyday. She opted to give up having a career to give all she had to give herself to her family.
There are not many days of my life I cannot remember my dad not getting up and going to work. He worked for General Motors in their Kettering Ohio factory. My dad started as a janitor and worked his way up to a machine operator. He instilled in me a work ethic that is powerful. My childhood memories of my dad is a playful, loud, silly, but protective man running about the house and stopping just for a moment to bang a few unknown bars on the piano saying “great balls of fire whoo.” This man celebrated every grade above an “F” which I never understood until I had my children and entered into education. I often thought he might have done it to make my mom crazy, but in the end, it encouraged me to continue trying no matter what the grade was as long as it was passing.
My parents are both still living and from childhood till now have never left, hung up a telephone, or even ended a text with out an I love you.
My Aunt Elaine was my mom’s sister. I do not remember a time she was not an active part of my life. Aunt Laine had one son closer to the age of my sister. I remember my aunt working and even owning her own business for a time. My aunt was the person who taught me about personal self-awareness and how young ladies should stand, walk, hold their shoulders back and smile politely in a public setting with a courteous hello. My aunt Lain always gave positive advice with a twist of humor. She was and still is a woman that could laugh at things that happen taught me that as long as I am here to experience life, life is good.
My Granny (Center of Picture) was born in Hazard Ky. She was married and gave birth to ten children two did not survive infancy (Glinda & Andra). She lost another son (Tate) to a car accident when he was 21 years old. Of her remaining children, she had three boys and four girls. After divorcing my papaw, my granny left Kentucky with her three youngest children and moved to Ohio to build a better life. She enrolled in college and obtained her nursing degree as a single mother.
The way my granny cared, nurtured and loved me was sitting with me and telling me stories about our family and lineage. She taught me how to stand behind my children and love them through any situation. She showed me by example that I can stand as a woman and excel personally as well as professionally.