Today is my Aunt Jane's birthday.
She's 28...give or take a few years...I'm not gonna give away her age...but I can assure those of you who have not met her that she is NOT a decrepit old woman...she's just a few years older than me.
And God only knows where I would be without her.
Recently I was asked to name the person who has had the most influence on my life.
My answer: my Aunt Jane
Those of you who know me well might have guessed I would have said my mother...but nope...the person who has had the most influence on my life has been my Aunt Jane.
You see, my mom was my MOM.
And, as wonderful a mom as she was, she wasn't always able to be the BEST mom. She had some issues...not all her fault.
But there were times when my mom just wasn't able to be the adult in my life that I needed.
And thank God (and I do mean I THANK GOD) that my Aunt Jane was and always will be.
I've learned a lot from her...like what not to put in a blender to make a drink...yeah, we tried that a few times...ice cream and certain liquors don't work.
She took me to see my first R rated movie...and explained what I didn't understand. It was "Animal House"...seems pretty tame now...
When I went to Oprah it was an easy decision for Jane to be the person to come with me. She had been my support system and she was the best person to keep me calm and help me be ready for the show. We had a blast...and when I buckled my seatbelt (on the plane) for the first time without needing a seat extender, I was really happy she was the one sitting next to me.
I had to re-do my will after my divorce.
I knew without a doubt the person I needed in my corner is Jane. So if I'm laying in a hospital hooked up to machines, she will know what to do.
She will...I don't doubt if for a moment.
She has unselfishly taken care of my 93 year old grandmother for many years...and Grandma has Alzheimers...but Jane never complained and did it all with love. Only recently did she hand Grandma's daily care over to some skilled caretakers...Jane has a full-time job and caring for a 90+ year old Alzeheiemer's patient is more than a full time job.
She did it out of love.
Like everything else she does.
I don't know a single person who has met her that doesn't love her.
All of my friends love her and want her to be "their" aunt. Trainer Girl is at the top of the list.
Me and Trainer Girl spend every Sunday during the summer so we can lie like lizards in the sun and then watch "True Blood"...but yesterday we altered our plans to spend it with Jane and some of her friends...I did not have to twist Trainer Girl's arm to get her to agree to the change of schedule. She loves loves loves Jane.
Whenever I have needed someone to confide in ...to pour my heart out to...to hold me...
Well, Jane is there...always...always...always...
She gives so much of herself and never expects anything in return.
And heaven knows I ask a whole lot of her...some days I ask the world of her...
When I was having my typical teenage "my mother doesn't understand me" times, I turned to Jane. She listened and played mediator.
Now that Ke$ha Barbie is having her "my mother doesn't understand me" times, she often asks if she can move in with Jane.
Not much changes...even between the generations.
I was so lucky I got to share so much of my childhood and my adult life with Jane. When I was a kid I even convinced her to be a counselor at my camp just so I could have her near me.
Sneaky little plan but it worked. I was jealous as heck when she ended up in my sister's cabin but it didn't matter...I still had the pride of knowing that the most popular counselor at camp was always gonna love me best...ha!
And she has loved me at times when I have not been lovable at all.
And she has loved me when I have done the wrong thing but she needed me to fail to see it was wrong.
And she has supported me when I didn't think I could stand on my own two feet.
And she does that with EVERYONE.
2 years ago I wrote a blog about her ("Jane") and I told this story...but to me it is worth repeating because it says it all about our relationship...
When I was about 5 or so my parents took us to Hawaii and they brought Jane along to help out watching us.
Jane took us to the beach. I ran into the water...not very deep but enough to be in the water.
A HUGE wave came along out of nowhere.
Jane said it was like the wave was a giant hand...and it reached out and grabbed me.
One minute I was there and the next I was not.
I disappeared in the water.
Jane was frantic and looking in the water for me.
But then Jane said she could see my hand sticking out...
So she grabbed my hand...and pulled me out of the wave and the water and to safety.
And so you see that is what she does for me...
I reach out my hand when I am drowning...and Jane takes it and pulls me to safety.
Happy Birthday Jane...I love you and I thank you for being the most influential person in my life.
Inspiration Song: "God Only Knows" by the Beach Boys. One of the most beautiful songs ever written. Natalie Maines sings a pretty good version too. Because God only knows what I would be without my Aunt Jane...
Bye Darlings...I hope you are all blessed to have an Aunt Jane in your life...I am the luckiest girl in the world because she is in mine...