My first weekend without seeing your face light up as I open yours and PawPaw's front door. The first weekend you couldn't ask me, "How's Em?" The first weekend you couldn't tell me, "I love you. Be good." The first of many weeks where I wouldn't see your face for years and years to come. I miss it all so much, but I know we spent a lot of time together over the last 25 years, especially the last three years. Between summer days, Alabama games, Christmas mornings, and all the days in-between, I felt like I was always next door. I would have withdrawals and aches when I wouldn't walk next door to see you. But somehow you always knew life caught up with me and you would call me and say, "I've been thinking about you." Oh, how I miss somewhat random phone calls and the voicemail messages that I teased you about that said, "This is Nanny..." I wish more than anything that I would have saved one. I miss your voice and your nagging. I miss the way you calmed my fears but also gave me new ones, us and our worrying ways. You gave me more in 25 years than I deserved. Something was always different about our bond. Something I could never replace or even want to. There is only one Nanny.
I don't think the reality of your passing will ever really set in, at least not fully. Dustin, I, and Buttercup visited you this weekend. I still got my Nanny time in because no worries I went and bugged PawPaw for you right after seeing you. He's managing, I think, or so he says. I don't know if I fully believe him, but he feels you with him and that's saying something. You seem to be keeping him company, uh? Even in death, you make him smile. I am so glad he still has you to keep him straight, even if you aren't physically here, he feels your spirit. I feel like you are still here as well. Not the same way PawPaw does, but I do. I know in some of the decisions I've made in the days since you passed have been because of you. How? Because you taught me well and I feel like I know what you would want me to do. You don't want people to walk all over me or use me for their own enjoyment. You want me to be accepted for who I am like you accepted me. When no one else accepted me, you did. You always did.
Now that you are gone, I am listening to my inner Nanny voice and putting myself first. Loving me first, making sure I am okay with what is going on in my life. I think that's what you always taught me. I will keep that in mind from this point on.
What I really want to talk about is the moment I knew you knew I was truly happy and I was going to be okay. In your final month, we had our last hour-long talk in your bedroom. This was the day I truly believed you knew the end was coming soon. One minute we were talking, the next you started crying and I couldn't hold it in any longer. We sat there and cried for what seemed like forever. I told you, "I know God wants you back, but I'm not ready."
I'm not sure if it was that day or another one, but you told me, "I'm glad you have Dustin." That melted my heart and we knew the end was closer than either of us wanted to accept. But, soon you came to accept it, just like you had accepted Dustin into our family. He may only be my boyfriend right now, but you considered him one of your grandkids. Not only did you have four, but you gained three more (one already married, one engaged, and the other dating). We all love you so much - all seven of us.
I remember the first day I brought him over to meet you. Exactly seven months ago, on October 3rd, we gathered at y'all's house for an Alabama game. Momma and Daddy were out of town, but the rest of the family was there (AND I mean everyone). What did I do? I fell asleep on my boyfriend's lap and left him with all of my family. He hung in there and talked to you, my cousins, brother-in-law, and my sister. When I woke up, there you were giving me the stink eye for wanting to go back to sleep.
To this day, we still laugh about that first Saturday I brought my first boyfriend (in years) to a family event.
Since that last long talk, I knew Dustin had your stamp of approval. You loved him as one of your own and treated him as such. If I remember correctly, you gave him a hug the first or second time he came over. That meant so much to me.
He is taking care of me, Nanny. I am in good hands. But, you also know I can take care of myself as well. You know I am highly capable of it. But, I also know you wanted someone to take care of me. Even when you didn't know the end would come so soon, you hoped I would bump into my future husband. I found him. I am so glad you were here to see it and meet him. We love you so much, Nanny.
Until Next Time,