Monday, November 2, 2015

Two Elaines

This the first of my posts Giving Thanks for People in my Past.

Thought I'd hit both Elaines in a single post. First things first: I have never known an Elaine who wasn't a beautiful person. It's one of the reasons my oldest is named Elaine. The other two reasons are:

1. My aunt Elaine.

My mother's older sister Elaine was a small fiery creature. I've heard hilarious stories about her temper. But that's not what I remember about her. I remember her kindness and her love of Jesus.

My mom was a very young mother, seventeen when I was born, and she received a lot of help from family while she finished high school and then as she was working. Elaine was my second mom when I was small and I adored her.

One of my earliest memories is of waking up with the stomach flu while I was at her house. I remember her calm patience. I remember her gently washing the vomit out of my hair and reassuring me again and again that it was going to be okay and that she wasn't mad about the mess I'd made. I remember her making me feel like the most gifted person in the world when I got my cousin to burp. I remember her not laughing her tail off when I sprayed Lysol in my eye wondering what it would feel like. I remember hours and hours of fun with her and her babies.

She worked with the kids at my church too. I remember her singing with me about Jesus. I have a very distinct memory of a call and response song asking why I loved Jesus (because he first loved me). I knew he first loved me because she told me he did. That is no small gift.

When I was five, she died from liver disease, the same liver disease that had plagued her the entire time she was doing all those wonderful things with me. I've never stopped missing her. I'm certain that, had she lived, I would have had a more complicated relationship with her, as my conversion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints flipped out the rest of my Southern Baptist family. Perhaps I wouldn't have found her fiery temper so amusing if it was aimed at me, but as it was, I just had a loving aunt who was there for me whenever I needed her. 

2. An Elaine I hardly knew who gave me one of the most generous gifts I've ever known. 

This Elaine was someone who knew me when I first joined the church. She and her husband decided that I ought to go to BYU and so they paid for my tuition for both years I attended. (One of those years was after a significant stock market crash which hit them hard and they still helped me.) All that they asked is that I pay it forward when I got a chance. After my mission, I transferred to a local college. Since my family had moved out of my hometown, I wasn't in the same ward anymore. I lost touch with her. But I didn't forget. And I'm still working on that pay it forward thing.


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Interesting character you have described in your post. There are some people in our lives whom we always remember. They make life more interesting and gives a chance to smile and enjoy.

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