Jennine loved Elizabeth, just like she loved every baby that she ever met.
When I told her that I was expecting my baby girl, she was ecstatic. I secretly think she was way more excited than I ever was. We were only a year apart in age. I was going on 38 years old, and she had started having her babies almost ten years earlier. She shared great advice on what to look forward to and the wonderfulness of all things baby.
Once Elizabeth was born, Jennine became a huge part of her life. She had a fancy new digital camera: we did not. So she insisted on taking pictures of my one and only. And she took tons of pictures, documenting month one, month two, month three and so on.
My favorite picture of Jennine and Little E is at one month old, when I actually snapped these two lovelies.
While I certainly loved my baby girl, I have never been a true baby person. Jennine, on the other hand, could not get enough. Holding, squeezing, rocking, just plain loving on my girl was the world for her. She'd told me that being a mother was always her dream. She loved her two children like crazy, but there was something about babies that really made her day.
As she grew, Elizabeth started requesting for me to call Jennine or to go see Miss Neen or to see if Miss Jennine wanted to sit outside with us. She loved going to the thrift store, playing games, or just hanging out with Jennine, just like I did.
The morning that Jennine died, I sat with Elizabeth on the couch and we talked about all the wonderful times and memories that we had with her. I was a blubbery mess, but Elizabeth was a little more stoic. When I finally told her that it was okay to be sad about our friend, it was like I had given her permission to cry. As I hugged her, I told her how much Jennine had loved her and her simple response was, "I know."
About a week later, Elizabeth talked about going next door to Jennine's house to see her mother-in-law. "I guess we can't call it Miss Jennine's anymore, though."
"Yes, baby. It will always be Miss Jennine's."