My Niece Jayne
I met Jayne when she had just turned four. Jayne was Danielle’s daughter from her first marriage. My brother Randall and Danielle were madly in love and wanted to spend every minute together. Jayne and I were madly in love and wanted to spend every minute together. It was the perfect arrangement.
Jayne was an incredible young woman. Even at four, I would describe her as a young woman. She had a very strong leadership personality.
“Jayne, you are going to be the CEO of a major corporation someday!” I told her that all the time.
She was fearless and strong, yet not argumentative or contrary. If you watched her in a room of adults in conversation, her head moved to follow and listen as the talk passed from one person to another. She took in and likely without much comprehension, evaluated everything that was said. She matured long before her time. She was born an old soul. I, not having had any children myself and not having the distraction of parental responsibility, treated her like the young woman she was. I didn’t dumb down for her. If I used a word she didn’t know, she’d ask. I’d explain. I treated has as an equal. We were friends, compatriots, very very close. I worshiped her and she me. She gave me more joy than anything else in my life then or since.
I took Jayne on a short cruise to Catalina Island and Ensenada when she was eight. She still remembers and recounts events to this day. We got drink cards, like credit cards, with our names on them. If I had a daiquiri, she’d have a virgin daiquiri. I let her sign for her own drinks.
My favorite memory was the open market at La Bufadora. Jayne had her eye on a pair of beaded slides with a heel.
“How much?” Jayne asked.
“$7,” the merchant responded.
That didn’t sit well with Jayne. With a flip of her long golden curls, she turned on her heel and headed on down the mall. The merchant immediately started after her.
“Little girl! Little girl! $5!”
And to that, Jayne agreed.
Jayne is 35 now, and works as an ER nurse. She and her husband foster four children; the youngest is one and the oldest is four. There’s a sibling on the way so they are considering fostering a fifth child, a newborn. I haven’t words to describe how incredible she is. She’s my hero.
Jayne at 15