May has always been a special month in my family because so many of the matriarchal figures shared that month as their birthday month.
My great-aunt who was practically another grandmother
a cousin ironically named June.
It always felt really special to share that month with people who were so important to me.
When I was born, my great aunt turned 50. We always kept up with each other's age that way. Her name was Donna Rose.
When my mom's parents took turns working day and night shift, Donna was one of the people who helped raise her.
She was the kind of person who always took care of other people.
In our recent move to El Paso, I finally got to empty some boxes out of storage that were too special to move with us around the world. There were so many things in there that reminded me of Donna. A quilt from when I was a baby, then one from when I was a little girl, one from when I liked tigers best, another from when purple and yellow were my favorite colors. One from when I got married and she made one for my husband. One from when I had my first baby and she made her one too... no wonder her hands started giving out. I have the recipe book she put together for me when I got married and a collage of all of the pictures she had of me with family members. Finding all of these things reminded me how much she made me feel loved.
She was my first Sunday School teacher, baby sitter, and person to tell me I was definitely old enough to start wearing deodorant.
She made us grilled cheese sandwiches by lining up cheese-filled bread on a cookie tray and cooking them in the oven. When I asked my mom why she made it that way instead of on the stove, she said "probably because she came from a family of 8 kids, and cooking them on the stove would take too long."
We shared a love of bright colors, good stories, and all sorts of good recipes.
After the oldest child in her family was born, 9 years passed before her parents had any more children. Then, Donna was born. Her 9 year old brother was less than impressed with her ousting him from the only-child category and teased her a lot.
She never was very self-confident. If you wanted to see self-sacrifice in action, though, she was definitely one to learn from.
I miss her so much.