We all go through stressful times and, in those moments, it’s important that we have somebody to talk to. Still, not everybody is going to be able to give the care you need, which is why it’s important to find somebody you can consistently rely on.
Over the course of her lifetime, Nikki Pennington has had two main people to confide in: her mother and her husband, both of whom used very similar methods.
For years she thought it was just a coincidence but now, after her mom’s passing, she has finally learned the truth.
For most of her life, Nikki Pennington’s mother was her closest confidant.
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When Pennington was growing up, there really was no better confidant for anxiety than her mother.
“She knew just what to say, how to say it, and the right moment to say it, to help bring me back to reality,” Pennington wrote in her Facebook group. “Her words and comfort were always stronger than my anxiety.”
Pennington knew that her mom was “her person” and she fully expected her to continue her role as such for the rest of her life. She never thought there would ever be anyone who could take over that role, but she was eventually proven wrong.
A few weeks after her wedding, Pennington experienced an anxiety attack. She insisted on calling her mom to calm her down but her husband had a different idea.
“How about you talk to me instead?” he asked. “Just give me a try and see if I can compare.”
Pennington tried her husband’s approach and soon found herself relieved.
“It was as if I was talking to my mom,” she wrote. “It was as if I was talking to my person.”
She later learned her husband could relieve her stress just as well—he had learned from the best.
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Over time, Pennington didn’t feel as much of a need to call her mom when she was stressed. Her mother never questioned it and was not angry about the less frequent calls.
“That’s because moms like mine are few and far between,” Pennington wrote.
According to A Plus, Pennington’s mother passed away from brain cancer in 2012. Pennington was absolutely devastated and needed to call her husband right away.
“My person is gone,” she said. “The one that knew me and loved me with all my flaws. The one, the only one who could calm my fears, she’s gone.”
That’s when he revealed to her something that her mother had done long ago. On the day of their wedding, Pennington’s now-husband was handed a note from her mom entitled “How to be Nikki’s person.”
This note was meant to be a step-by-step guide on how to treat Pennington when she was feeling depressed. It read:
“Step 1: Just listen.
Step 2: Listen a little more.
Step 3: Don’t try and solve the problem.
Step 4: Tell her you understand.
Step 5: Keep listening until she’s sorted it out on her own. She will, she always does.
She doesn’t know it yet, but she’s had it figured out on her own all along.”
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Through this, Pennington learned that her mother had never truly stopped being “her person” since it was through her that her husband learned his methods.
Pennington realized why her mom had trained him too, in case of a scenario like this where she has passed on but her daughter was still around. She didn’t want Pennington to have to live life without a “person.”
As a mom herself, Pennington is now serving the role of personal confidant for others. Knowing the love behind this family, it’s likely that this trend will continue through her family line.
We can all be “that person” for somebody!