Pawpaw said that his song for Nini was "Wind Beneath My Wings." It was his lasting legacy for my family's relationship with my Nini, I know it. When the song says "I was the one with all the glory, you were the one with all the strength," I see it so clearly. You couldn't not love my Pawpaw. His joy and vivaciousness knew no bounds. His thirst for life was contagious. But he left this for my family so that we would know that all along, he would have been nothing without Nini. She was his hero, his rock, and the reason he was as wonderful as was, which makes her infinitely more wonderful.
She gets her words mixed up sometimes. She pronounces things funny - "cry-stial" instead of crystal, "breaksfast" instead of breakfast", and "aluminumnum" instead of aluminum. Things don't always clearly translate from her head to her mouth. I see so much of that in Alli - her mind is working so quickly that her mouth can't catch up. I know Nini is the exact same way. She is so analytical, so attuned to the needs and feelings of others, it just doesn't always translate to us mere mortals.
No one person in my life has ever loved me as much as my Nini - that would be impossible. She truly is capable of a higher level of love than anyone I know. I think she's on a whole other plane. I can only think of one time I've known that she's ever been mad at me - I wandered off in the mall, and I think it was more fear for my safety than anything.
|I think all of these warm clothes were hers - the perpetual mother hen|
If Pawpaw is the beacon, Nini is the anchor. Nini means constant love and constant encouragement. If you want a reason to get up and fight, Nini will find one. But if you want an excuse to lay on the couch and cry, Nini will find one of those too. The day I wrecked my dad's truck, I ran to Nini. One of the hardest times in my life, the time when I told my family I was pregnant with Alli, I spent a solid day curled up on her couch. No questions, no judgement, no anger. Just love unfailing.
|A one year old gets to dip her finger in her own cake, after all|
Oh my, but Nini is strong. She's feisty too. She can be sassy, but you aren't always sure if she means it because it sounds like sugar. But if you cross her or her family, she will show you just how much business she means. I think her sweet demeanor and constant love can lead people to think she's weak, but she is so incredibly strong. You don't get to call yourself a Rachel unless you're tough. You don't marry a man like my Pawpaw and raise three bright, intelligent, and wonderful women like my mother and my aunts without a little spunk.
Nini is a constant lesson for me in sacrifice. In being the person who brings out the best in others, which in turn brings out the best in oneself. I tend to be focused on me and my needs, but knowing Nini is to know a person who is focused on others and their needs above her own. She raised a family while my Pawpaw pursued his career across Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. She has a shopping problem. She doesn't like to cook or clean, unless it's for her family's sake. She can rock any baby to sleep. And it still feels like I'm five when I hug her.
I know now exactly how Pawpaw felt about Nini, and I couldn't agree more. The professor keeps teaching.
It must have been cold there in my shadow, to never have sunlight on your face.
You were content to let me shine, that's your way. You always walked a step behind.
So I was the one with all the glory, while you were the one with all the strength.
A beautiful face without a name for so long, a beautiful smile to hide the pain.
Did you ever know that you're my hero? You're everything I would like to be.
I can fly higher than an eagle, you are the wind beneath my wings.