Friday, June 13, 2008


I've got a whole slew of cousins. We had a family reunion last summer for Dad's side of the family. But since it was held in the home town of Mom's side, we got to see some of them, too. This spring, one of the aunts passed away, and many of the Dad's side cousins met again. I left those events feeling very warm and nostalgic.

I've got boy cousins. Boys? Some of them are retired, for gosh sakes! But I remember thinking that I felt like all of them were nearly my brothers. Except with these brother-cousins, there were no memories of fights, taunting, or any disagreements. Every time we were together when I was a kid was a good time.

I guess I'd call the gals my sister-cousins, but I never had a sister so can't fully relate to that relationship. But all the girls are pretty cool, and that brings me to today's post.

Janet's girls are a bit younger than me, and we all had great times at the family beach place. It was almost like having younger sisters, except Janet was always good about making me feel as important as an adult -- so I got to play both sides of the net! Janet and her girls, and my mom and I, were spending spring vacation together at the beach when I was 12. That was the week that my mom got sick. Really sick. We didn't know what was wrong, but Janet kept everything going as if my mom's illness was just a minor inconvenience.

Turns out, my mom had had a major stroke. That was the last week of my normal life. What followed was weeks of Mom being in bed, her good friend the nurse taking care of us, Dad taking over the cooking and laundry, and Mom not being quite Mom. Years. Adjustments on top of adjustments. Adolescence. Not being a grown-up, not being a kid.

Janet, her girls, her husband, all welcomed me in their home for a week in the summers. Sightseeing, relaxing, fun, school shopping, wildflowers, projects, music, playing. Janet was the one who told me how important it was that I go away to college. Janet wasn't my mother, wasn't my sister, but was one whom I would have called a wonderful friend.

Rest with Jesus, Janet. I will always, always be thankful for what you put into my life.


Miss Kitty said...

God bless Janet and her influence in your life. I had/have a "second mom," too, and am so thankful to have known her. She saved me from the drug-addled, pregnant future that was probably awaiting me without her guidance.

Katharine said...

Thanks for your comment, Miss Kitty. Whether their influences were dramatic or subtle, we can look back with thankfulness for those folks who helped us. Knowing how we're more willing to hear advice from "second" parents than from "firsts," it's especially good to have them!