Happy birthday today to my eldest sister, Nurse Jane. She only became an RN two years ago, after several other careers in her life, but she has always been a nurse.
She was the one who bandaged my knees and elbows when I was young. When a creepy kid who lived in the same trailer park we did threw one of my shoes into the swimming pool in the dead of winter, Nurse Jane dived into the green, freezing cold water to retrieve it. We didn't have multiple pairs of shoes, and she saved me a serious ass-whipping on that occasion.
I have a distinct memory of a scraped knee when I was probably 5 or 6 years old. I was sitting on the washing machine getting my knee bandaged up, and Nurse Jane was blowing on my knee to take the sting out of whatever evil substance our mother had punished me with. HER sympathy was usually of the you-shouldn't-have-been-doing-whatever-you-were-doing-to-get-hurt variety. In my childlike innocence, I said through my tears, "Jane is the best blower in town."
I was grown before I realized why everyone else fell on the floor laughing hysterically.
Nurse Jane got married when I was only 6, and I had no idea what a honeymoon was. I kept hearing them talk about a honeymoon, and I convinced myself that they were going TO the moon. I remember getting quite hysterical at the reception, because I was sure I was never going to see them again.
I used to spend my summers with Nurse Jane and her kids, and I'm sure there was at least one time she wanted to kill me. Not only did I want to stay up all night and sleep until mid-afternoon, but I wasn't very reliable. (I would later prove to Katydid as well that I wasn't a reliable babysitter.) She and her husband lived waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out in the boonies, and there wasn't really a lot that could happen to my niece and nephew other than the usual setting the house on fire or swallowing drain cleaner. So one afternoon when I was SUPPOSED to be watching them I sort of dozed off on the sofa instead. My nephew didn't swallow drain cleaner or find any matches to set the house on fire with, but he did find a bucket of tar. Tar. Yes, tar. As in Tar-Baby. As in stuff they pave roads and patch roofs and perhaps put shingles on with. As in stuff that can only be removed from a toddler's legs with copious amounts of gasoline. It's a wonder Nurse Jane speaks to me to this day.
I had a job interview a few years ago with a principal, and I went in there all ready for the questions about discipline in my classroom and how I assess progress and all that malarky. I was ready for it. What I was NOT ready for was the question, "Who are your heroes?" I didn't expect that at all, but I recovered quickly enough to say, "My sister." Mainly because Nurse Jane would have known what to say in that situation.
She always knows the right thing to say. And do. She takes care of everyone in the family, and she can step in and put any disaster to rights. You know that joke about how things would have been different if it had been Three Wise WOMEN who visited Baby Jesus in the manger instead of Three Wise Men? That joke has Nurse Jane written all over it. She would have taken charge and history would have been completely different.
She and Katydid were the ones who kept Mom from killing me when I got suspended from school in the 10th grade. They were my other moms, and I'm so glad I have them in my life.
Happy Birthday, Nurse Jane!