Even though I whacked my head hard enough to remove several thousand brain cells back in July (see previous posts about PCS), I have regained most of my memories of Nikki Lea. I think these memories came back to me vividly because she and I have stayed in contact with each other and she was such a cute little kid!
When she was just a baby, not more than 15 months, my parents began keeping her regularly on the weekends at first. Then they progressed to keeping her through the week. My parents had raised Nikki Lea’s mother also. (Just to give a bit of back ground info: my parents adopted the brother I grew up with when he was 6 months old, then adopted me when I was 2 1/2 months old. They could not have children of their own, so they adopted us and were always raising someone’s children from time to time.)
Back to little miss priss…Nikki Lea was the cutest baby in the world. She had the deepest and most beautiful dimples in her cheeks and a smile that would make a person’s heart melt. She spoke well and properly (speaking proper was all my mother would tolerate), and she was a little princess. She didn’t watch TV, instead she always wanted to play…in MY room :-\
Sometimes I would get aggravated with her always following me around, but most of the time I loved her to pieces. I dressed her up in odd outfits and punked out her hair in the proper 80’s fashion (she was like 2 yrs old at that point). I applied make-up to her cute little doll face and pretty much treated her like a doll. I never had a Barbie, but I had a Nikki Lea 🙂
One day, I had been outside playing with the neighborhood boys and came in for a drink and a rest. Mom was supposed to be watching Nikki Lea, but I found her in my room…eating my Estee Lauder lipstick!! I didn’t wear make-up myself, but my mom gave that lipstick to me because I begged her for it. It was the only thing I could have from her cosmetics, so I cherished it as a child. It must have tasted as good as it looked on a pair of lips, cause she ate the entire tube! I was devastated 😐 My poor-pitiful-me devastation lasted about 5 minutes…then I didn’t care any more. Afterall I was anxious to go back outside and play, I had M80s to use on some hot wheel cars with the guys.
This little girl stole so many hearts as a child. My dad was her “Poppy” and she called my mom “Mummy”. I was Chissy and my brother was Cot when she spoke.
Every Saturday evening, Nikki Lea slept in my room with me. When we woke up on Sunday morning, I got to dress her for church. I picked frilly little dresses with crinoline underneath, ruffled undies, and tights. By the time that poor child was dressed, I’m surprised she could walk!!! I put her in high heels once. That didn’t work out so well. She fell and bumped her elbow.
When she was older, maybe 6 yrs old, I gave her a helium balloon and told her to suck the air out of it. She sounded like her baby voice all over again. Of course, my parents were not very happy about that, so I was grounded for a week 😦 Come on! Who hasn’t sucked helium out of a balloon as a child?
Nikki Lea went back to stay with her mom around 5-6 yrs old. Her mom finished nursing school and had a great job. She was a strong woman! She raised 3 girls alone, worked full-time, and put herself through nursing school. So, it would be a while before I connected with little miss dimples again.
Then, on Jan 20th, 1996 when Nick and I took our wedding vows and became husband and wife…Nikki Lea was my little ring bearer. She was so precious! Her hair was curled in Shirley Temple like curls and she had on one of those frilly little dresses again 🙂 She would come and stay with Nick and I, on and off, from time to time after we were married…and then she grew up. She didn’t come stay with us again until 2002. She was a full-blown teenager at that point…15 or so and ruled the world. Okay, not really. She actually always had a very level head on her shoulders and was much wiser than other kids her age. She matured fast because of her environment.
After 2003, it would be a while before I saw Nikki Lea again. But I think that time we spent together and apart was good for us. I know it certainly made me appreciate her much more when I did see her! We connected when she was working at a local university and had a few discussions when she was deciding on going into the military. I was stoked!! I tried to encourage her as much as possible to do the bravest thing – serve our country. I would have if 3 branches of the military hadn’t turned me away when I was much younger. She did it!! She made it through Cadet school (or what ever it’s called) and she has been in the service several years now.
I got to travel to Virginia to see her in September 2010 when she gave birth to her baby boy. And now, she is ready to pop open once more. This time she’ll be delivering a girl though. Nikki Lea is a wonderful mother, wife, sister, woman, and friend.
Nikki Lea… I am so proud of you little mechanic Naval momma!!