Layna is actually my "Baby Sister". She was born when I was a very young teen, but I had been taking care of two younger brothers, and even babysitting other people's children since I was about 7 years old.
When she was born, thank Creator, she was Finally my Mother's last child! My Mother had some health problems and surgeries after that, so Layna sort of became *MY baby*.
She was a joy to take care of, quiet and sweet, and very loving. I remember one of her cutest phrases when she started talking was, "I love you and you are a pretty ribbon". She loved pretty, feminine things, so I would put ribbons in her hair when I dressed her, she loved that. When she asked what they were, I told her they were "Pretty ribbons, for a pretty little girl", so I guess to her baby thoughts, that was the highest compliment to be able to say to someone else!
I enjoyed dressing her up like a little Princess. She had the biggest, most beautiful Brown eyes, like a doe, and was as cute as could be. I was very proud of *my baby*.
Things were not easy or good for me growing up, many times just holding her was a refuge. I would read to her and have her sit on my lap whenever I felt hurt or sad, and her sweet little personality would change my whole outlook.
I don't know if she ever knew it, but just having her in my life like I did, helped me to grow and learn about real, unconditional love. She was that special.
The family moved lots, all the time it seemed like. We never stayed anywhere too long because my Stepfather was in the Air Force and everywhere he went, it seemed either he or my mother, decided we all needed to go there too! I really hated it and never got to learn how to Socialize well, except taking care of my two little brothers and my little sister.
Finally, when I was 18, the parents told me we would be moving again! Well, I had a job and I was a Senior in High School, plus it was halfway through the year!
I screwed up all the courage I could manage, and told them I absolutely would NOT move to another school for just a few months. My stepfather was so abusive, I was scared to leave any of the kids with him. But the other two were boys and at the time I felt they would be ok. It was the Little sister/Baby I was worried about.
So when I moved out, I just took her! I threatened both of the parents that if they wouldn't let me have her, I would go to the authorities about his abuse.
So, here I am, a Senior in High school with a little girl to take care of 24/7 in a dumpy 2 bedroom duplex which at that time cost $50.00 a month rent, all utilities included.
Thankfully, one of the utilities included was an elderly lady in the other half of my duplex! She was a huge, heavy set Black woman, with the softest skin, she smelled like lilacs and glowed with kindness. She almost immediately *adopted* Layna and me. She asked all sorts of questions, which I answered as honestly as I could, and she offered to watch my little sister while I was in school! So my biggest problem was solved and I finished out the school year and graduated. It was kind of like "Free at last"!
The next school year Layna was in kindergarten. I had made her some dresses and gotten her a pair of buckle shoes. She was SO excited to go to school.
About two months into the school year, she caught something that was going around and got so sick, I was terrified! She had such a high fever she was hallucinating. Things were a lot different 40+ years ago, so I was able to take her to a Dr. without a lot of questions or high costs.
After about two weeks, she was well enough to go back to school, and started learning her numbers and letters and I sort of tutored her at home. Time went by, she was a very good student.
About the time she was 12 or 13, she decided she wanted to go live with the parents. I was scared for her because of her age, but I let her go back home. It turned out that was both good and bad. Good because apparently, to her father, she was special and he never tried to abuse her, in fact was very good to her.
The bad part was, her schooling sort of went by the wayside and at 16 she quit school! I was SOOO disappointed, but not really surprised because, out of 7 of us, only my brother Mac and I graduated. Ed got his GED, but the rest never did.
THEN, she met the guy she ended up marrying. What a bad choice she made!
During their marriage, he was a lazy bum. He came from a large, welfare family and hadn't finished High School either! He wanted to be a musician, and sat around all day playing his guitar.
A good thing about Layna though, somewhere along the line, she did have a good work ethic, so she worked, whether he did or not.
But then she had her first baby, it was a boy who died 6 days before his birth, and she just lost her heart, to work or anything else.
I had them move in with me to try and help her get over her deep depression, and he sat around crying and playing his guitar! I had a very tough time dealing with that, but at last he finally got a job and they moved two houses away from me.
After a year or so, she got pregnant again, and this time had a Beautiful baby girl. She was the treasure of all our hearts. Two years later, she had another boy, and this one was fine! Then another girl two years later. At that time she got her tubes tied. Thankfully, she had sort of lost her patience with her husband, too, and filed for divorce. After being married to him for about 8 years, she was free, too!
During the years she was having her kids, she still worked whenever she could, so with a little help from Social Services, she took care of her family. But her husband decided that if she wanted a divorce, he wanted his son, and took off with him to Alaska! Evrything we tried to do came to nothing, we couldn't get him back so she concentrated on her daughters.
At work, she met a man she liked and after awhile agreed to a date, they started seeing one another and he took to her daughters like they were his own. Eventually, they moved in together and have been very happy. Her son came back at 18, and went into Job Corps, because he hadn't finished High School either, but he did get his GED. After Job Corps, he moved in with Layna and Dean, her partner.
Layna and Dean married Dec. 6th, 2012, and on New Year's Eve, their 21st year * date anniversary *, we all had a Wild Dance Party and Reception. With her now adult children. Lauresa 25, Chaz 23, and Charlayna 21!
Her kids call me *Aunty-Grammy*, I LOVE that name!
Part 3 will be about my son, Aaron.