For Melanie, With Love.

Miss Melantie Jean, I can't believe you've left us already. I wasn't done knowing you, and this is totally not okay with me in any way. So much of my history, so many stories, have gone to the grave with you and I'm having a really hard time getting my head around it.

I was just a kid when we met, and I'm so glad you decided to hook up with Andy so you could be my mom-person. Not just a stepmom, no, my buddy, my confidant and a role model for so many things. The first newborn kittens I ever saw were in your closet, you showed me my first episode of Saturday Night Live, the first gravestone rubbing I ever did was with you, you're the reason I did theater, my love of fashion came from you, I could go on and on about all the ways you made me who I am today. Most importantly, you taught me how to take someone else's perspective, educated me about how horrible the world can be, and showed me a kind of unconditional love that I've never experienced before or since.

While I was growing up, you were always quick to call a "family meeting" to discuss my newest rebellious behavior but you never, ever gave up on me. Through all the years of my dumbassery, you were steadfast in your love and support and always claimed me as your kid. You were perfectly suited to your chosen profession and I often think I was really good practice for you.


You were the queen of taking pics of every single life event, some not so important, and some super important. You're the reason I have cap and gown pics, you took my first modeling style pics, and you also took pics that I hope get destroyed the moment we locate them. I used to complain about having to stop and take them, but now I thank you that we have them to keep the memories alive. Honestly, though, I wish you were in more of them because you were mostly behind the camera.

You loved a celebration and my hostessing skills are a testament to that fact, although I never quite mastered it like you did. I'm sad I never got your sangria recipe, you used to do it brilliantly. Most of my “girl” skills came from you, you taught me how to do my makeup , dress for my figure, choose flattering colors, and accessorize. I might even still have the thank-you note “templates” you wrote for me all those years ago...and I still use those formats to this day.

As the years went by, I realized that you did for everyone else except yourself and I started losing respect for your opinion. It's hard to want to take self care advice from someone who doesn't practice it. Because you ran on “Melanie time” it was almost impossible to make plans with you, being the schedule Nazi that I am. And then you got a best friend that I couldn't stand, which made it much easier not to come around than to have to struggle with my inner Bitchy during visits. With my 20/20 hindsight, I realize this was a chickenshit move and I should have been brave and discussed all this with you instead of running away from it. Regrets, I have them.

We were just starting to reconnect again right before you took your leave, and I'm eternally grateful that isn't on my list of regrets. I sincerely wish we'd been further along in the process, but it is what it is and I can't change it. My inner critic wants to tell me what a crappy kid I was to you, but my inner nurturer kicks in and tells me you knew how much I loved you. I hope the nurturer is correct.


I imagine you're reunited with all the people who went before you and it makes me happy to think about. I hope the family is taking good care of you with your transition. Please say hi to everyone for me and send my love, I look forward to hugging you tightly the next time I see you.

Miss you and love you so much. Xoxoxo

Jenni

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