Be Authentic and Loving

She never used the word naughty but every time she saw me my aunt “Lola,” Rubelle Johnson, always checked to see if I was behaving. She would say, “you acting right? Doing right? If not, I’ll box you in the mouth.”

Of course, being my mother’s child I’d answer sarcastically with, “what are you really going to do old lady? You’ve been threatening that since I was born.”

She’d reply, “mind now! I should pull your lips over your head.” And, she’d show me her fist before tapping me on the forehead with her knuckles. This was her way of saying I’ve missed you. I love you. She’d do this and bring a bread pudding. (Now the family recipe is lost to me because I never learned to make it)

Lola didn’t lose her feistiness when she lived in a nursing home in Scarsdale before she died. At 89, she was the same, even thought she couldn’t walk.

My mother told me my aunt was the same with her when she was young. They were born 20 years apart. At some point in my mom’s youth, my aunt lived in an apartment upstairs from my grandma and she’d question her about her behavior too. As they got older, my aunt would shout into my parents’ answering machine to check on my mom.

I miss her “interrogations” so I chose my sweater for day 16 of my ugly Christmas sweater in honor of my aunt Lola. She loved that my birthday was one day after hers. Now it’s a reminder of what I’ve loss; my aunt, my friend, and my birthmas buddy. It also reminds me to be authentic and check on people I love.

Rest in paradise, Aunt Lola! Happy heavenly birthday!

#RIP #birthday #adultingsucks #christmas #uglychristmassweater #countdowntochristmas #chronicillness #chronicpain #invisibleillness #holidayspirit #death #grief #decemberbaby

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