Friday, August 21, 2009

Everybody needs an Aunt Nancy

Pin It The year was 1987.

I was very young and very clueless.

I was headed off to college away from home.

At the time I thought I was ready for this. Looking back? Maybe I was not quite so much ready. Intellectually? Sure. Emotionally? A little less sure.

Nevertheless, off to Baylor I went.

I didn't really know my Aunt Nancy, Uncle Albert, and cousins Amanda and Clay all that well at the time, but they lived about twenty minutes from my dorm. The next closest relative was my grandmother, at about an hour and a half to two hours away.

I don't think I had been away from home even to go to camp at this point in my life, and although I had spent a ton of time at my bff's house, she also lived in the same town as my parents, so it was safe to say I had really no experience being away from home.

Oh - and I also had a car with some issues. Or maybe it was the driver who had some issues. It looked cool (it was a Mustang) but it seemed like every week there was something else that needed to be done with this car! I should probably mention that I just barely knew how to put gas in the thing, much less how to check anything on it or how to do anything with it.

So here I am dropped off at my dorm, so not ready for this, even though I thought I was. I was completely clueless, still kind of learning to drive, and had a car that was a little less than reliable. Plus absolutely no sense of direction. (Still plagued with that particular problem.)

Enter Nancy and Albert.

They have no idea what an enormous blessing they were to me. Albert spent a ton of time under the hood of that car. (and giggle ... I remember him asking once when the last time I checked the oil was. I'm sure I gave him some blank look. Oil? Is that something I'm supposed to check??) I don't think I could count the number of meals I ate at their house. Their house was a refuge to me because it was far enough away that I could completely escape from college life. Aunt Nancy took me shopping and got me familiar with Waco. They all just really helped to make it feel like a home to me. And yet, not once did they ever make me feel less than the independent person I thought I was. (Which was a total illusion - I was the least independent "away at college" person ever, but that's another story.)

So today, my nephew is moving not far from me to start college. I'm the only relative within a short driving distance. I really hope to be his Aunt Nancy.

(Can we just take a moment and all be thankful that he doesn't have a car? Because I distinctly remember my aunt pushing my car out herself after I got stuck. I love my nephew, but I'm not sure I love him quite that much.)

You know, I can't remember Nancy and Albert ever once asking me to babysit. I've ... um ... already asked my nephew to babysit. Maybe I need to take some *selfless* lessons from Nancy. (Even though, let me reiterate -- if he gets a car and gets it stuck, he's on his own.)

Anyway ... I haven't seen Nancy a ton since my Baylor days. They moved far far away, and then I got married and moved away before they moved back. Uncle Albert has since gone on to be with the Lord. I really am so thankful for that time in my life with them, though. They made a difficult (for me) situation so much easier to deal with.

I really hope I can be John's Aunt Nancy. To notice needs and just fill them. No big fanfare or anything, just seeing something that needs to be done and doing it.

And in case I never said it at the time, thank you Nancy. You have no idea the difference you and Albert and the girls made in my life.


Me said...

I remember those days too! I always loved when you came and you would french braid my hair...and I would leave it that way for DAYS. I also remember staying the night with you at your apartment, and the dead cat you had hanging on the bulletin board. You are a wonderful mother and although you won't be french braiding his hair, (at least I hope not), I know you'll be all the piece of home that Jon needs. Love you guys!

Micah said...

You're already Aunt Nancy! I've seen that love for John in you for several years now. He'll be blessed to have you so close.

Heather said...

What a sweet story! You know, my niece might be coming to us for college next year...I hope I can be her Aunt Nancy! I will have to take lessons from you...b/c I know you will be wonderful! :)

Dad said...

Melanie, as hard as it was to leave you at Baylor it was definately made easier because I knew Nancy was close and that you would be taken care of. The same is true of leaving Johnathan at Lamar. I'm not sure I could have done it without you being so close. I do know that he will be taken care of and loved when he needs to be loved. Do not doubt for a moment that you can be THAT person -- you always have been. I love you, Mama