I just have a lot to say.
February 6th, 2014 by

Clothes in the Kitchen

Jordan Lee had just decided she wanted to be a girl and moved into her pretty pink bedroom.

When JL was born, Starla moved Justin to the twin bed in his room and put JL in the crib. That way, she was able to keep the 3rd bedroom as a guest room for Mama and Granny. When Jeremy was born, she was able to fit another twin bed in the large-ish bedroom. She moved JL to the new bed and put Jeremy in the crib. When Jeremy was ready for a bed, Starla moved JL’s clothes to the front bedroom and told JL it was hers now. But she wasn’t budging. So, Starla moved the twin beds out of the shared room and bought a bunk bed with a queen mattress on the bottom. Six-year-old Justin got the top; 4-year-old JL got to share the bottom with her 2-year-old baby brother (and their daddy at bedtime, who used to pray them to sleep–himself included).

By the time JL was about 8, she decided maybe being a girl was a good thing after all. Wasn’t she lucky to have a pretty pink bedroom of her own? She slung her hair and stomped her feet and declared herself moved out.

Mama was an only child and had just been diagnosed with “atypical Alzheimer’s Disease,” which only meant she was confused, but she acted differently than someone with “typical” Alzheimer’s Disease. Other than her perpetual grief over Daddy’s early death, no one really knew what she had or why she had begun deteriorating at such a young age.

She was so young that her own mother was still living. Starla and I were in the car one day, and in a Rock-Paper-Scissors manner, I said, “I want Mama.” Starla said, “Good, ‘cause I want Granny.” And that was that.

I don’t remember how Granny ended up in the hospital with a quadruple bypass at 85 years old. I do remember the doctor saying afterwards, “Mrs. Brown, you have the heart of a 40-year-old.” Forty-one-year-old Starla said, “Granny! You’re younger than I am!!”

Since Starla had “dibs” on Granny, she had to go to Auburn to recover from her surgery. We were suspicious that she would never leave, but we didn’t share that with her. 

JLs scrapbook 1 - Copy (4)

Where was Starla going to put her? The little grey house was stretched to capacity and was liable to start popping nails any second. There was nowhere else to put her other than Jordan Lee’s pretty pink bedroom. But where could she put JL’s clothes? 

The little grey house had a laundry closet in an L-shaped kitchen. There was a smidge of room there. JL’s clothes got moved to the kitchen, and she went back to the boys’ room. At least this time, she got the top bunk by herself.


At 8 years old, when she was trying to grow up, when she had decided maybe she was a little tired of her brothers, she was stuck with them again. Indefinitely. And not by her own choice this time.

JLs scrapbook 1 - Copy

Granny lived in Jordan Lee’s room for 3 years. When Starla just couldn’t take care of her anymore (which is way past the limit for mere humans), she moved Granny to a nearby nursing home where she lived for one year, but she was confused by then and didn’t really even know it.

An 11-year-old Jordan Lee finally moved into her pretty pink bedroom. Without brothers. Without an old woman and a hospital bed. But with plenty of time to finish growing up.

Today, Jordan Lee is married to Peyton and is mommy to Harper. I asked her about Granny recently. She said, “I miss her. We had so much fun when she lived with us. We laughed all the time.”

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18.

JLs scrapbook 1 - Copy (2)




One Response to “Clothes in the Kitchen”
  1. Pink bedrooms just for one are a very nice thing for a little girl to enjoy. Loving Grandma well makes forever impressions in the hearts and on the character of the ones involved. I don’t know Jordan Lee, but I know she is a special person. And I bet some of who she is the result of what she did when Grandma moved in.

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