If you don’t know me, my life is unusual I guess.
I can’t stand to see a situation and not try to do something. I came to pick up Reagen from the babysitter when she was a year old.
Mrs. Rita came highly recommended by my good friend Tinia Mize. She said she loved to pick up her kids and Mrs. Rita would be in the floor playing with them. She had a young teenage daughter named Tina.
For some reason, they needed a place to stay that night and that turned into the next six months or so. Mrs. Rita soon became “Other Momma” to Reagen. I think at one time she kept 6 kids and my grandmother.
She also kept the house, the laundry and had dinner on the table. She had a simple kindness and a sweet disposition. She spent all of her earnings at Dollar General back on Reagen it seemed. Reagen had a present for every day on the calendar.
She would ring your phone off the hook, but you could not fail to laugh at her updates. “I won the dance contest at the Senior Center, hun!” Later years, it was always a question of when was I bringing Reagen to see her.
I have been told my whole life how quickly life goes by. There are certain moments when that is very apparent. One is when I got a call from my sweet Tina to tell me she was gone.
There are no words.
Tina had lost her dad at age 5. Life can be cruel. My only thoughts were to ask if I could be a grandmother and Jeff would be Paw Paw. I will never be able to repay what she has done for my family, but I have become GiGi. (Douglas’ first idea was Princess Bubble Gum.)
My fridge has popsicles and juices again. I have banana puffs and sippy cups in the cabinet. And, more importantly I have a little boy in the swing and Reagen has a little girl on her hip.
Jeff accused the boys of drinking his moonshine years ago. He had been given a jar from a friend and it started to disappear. Teenage boys were the obvious suspects. They swore they were innocent.
Jeff then thought it was Mrs. Rita. I thought he was crazy and I went to her, “Mrs. Rita, Jeff thinks you drank his moonshine!”
“Well hun, I had a cough.”
They say blood is thicker than water, but I have found that love is thicker than both. Six kids and my grandmother probably did require a little moonshine, cough cough!