Jan and I have been talking about her Mom, Nancy.
I said, "She certainly taught you to make your bed the minute after you roll out in the morning." (If I get up to take a pee in the middle of the night, when I come back to bed my side is made!) Jan agreed, but added, "The best thing she taught me was to pay my bills on time." Now that is a valuable lesson to teach a kid. Nancy was making sure Jan's Dad was staying on top of the household bills the day before she died, she was relentless and so is her daughter.
Over the years I've spent with Jan, she was always making gentle cracks about her Mom. Things like, "she sent me to kindergarten early so she wouldn't have to deal with me." or "Mom and Mike were close because of the music gene they shared." Nancy taught Mike piano before he started school. For a long time, Jan would say, 'I'm going to call my Dad" or "I need to go home and see Dad."...
I get it, having two girls and by observing how they've related to my ex-wife over the years, their relationships changed as age and time moved on.
Nancy's mother was born in England and Nancy, like Jan, felt a real connection to Britain. About 10 years ago, Nancy and Jan went to England together. They saw all the sights in London, a city that Jan knows well. They traveled by train to Windsor, had tea every afternoon and shared a delightful room in a B and B in Hyde Park. For better than a week they spent 24 hours a day together. They talked and they talked and they talked. Like magic, that week changed their relationship. After that it was "I need to call my Mom." or "I talked to Mom today." "Read this e-mail Mom sent." or "Mom says hi to her favorite son-in-law." That trip forged new bonds between Jan and her mother and they were strong and loving. It was a wonderful thing for them both to experience and share between the two of them. If her Dad and I had been along, the magic wouldn't have happened, he and I would have spoiled it for them. Nancy realized Jan is a strong, intelligent woman and Jan saw that her Mom wasn't just a business woman who spent her spare time playing the piano...what a wonderful gift they gave each other, themselves.
We are all going to miss her, her Dad Larry will be lost for awhile, but Mike is there for him. I'll take care of Nancy's daughter, because I'm the "favorite son-in-law". Of course, Nancy only had one, but I'll take the title.
Wonderful woman, a great loss for us all.
Jan smiled yesterday when we talked about this:
Jan and her brother Mike are almost 'Irish Twins" barely a year apart, when they were babies, Nancy dressed them alike, so people always asked her if they were twins. Now that Mike is bald they don't look so much alike anymore. Maybe if they dressed alike.....how about matching snowsuits again?
We are planning to say "Goodbye" to Nancy when her beloved flowers are blooming in Batavia.