Please Don't Take My Sunshine Away
My dad's youngest sister is in town for a visit. The youngest of nine, well 10 if we count my uncle who passed away as an infant, my aunt always has a fun story to tell about growing up in a house full of siblings. Our family gatherings are always loud and usually include extended family and friends who are like family. I guess that's why I wanted a large family of my own.
Around B.C. (Before Children), I thought I wanted five little crumbsnatchers until I gave birth to my first. I quickly reduced the thought of five to three, but once the second kiddo decided to ride side saddle on my sciatic nerve from the second trimester to birth, I decided my mission was accomplished - they are each other's keepers. Knowing they have each other gives me peace. When I was a kid, I would've given 10 packs of Now & Laters and five boxes of Lemonheads to have a sibling by my side.
When you're an only child you tend to suffer from your own version of OCD (Only Child Disorder) - you learn to go it alone, entertain yourself and keep the stiff upper lip at the ready. It's easy when life is simple, but as Father Time shows himself to be a reckoning force, a support system, whether through a bloodline or phone-a-friend, is a necessity. Now that I'm older and somewhat wiser, I've come to understand that being an only child doesn't mean you shouldn't ask for help nor are you in this thing alone. Whether we call it our village, tribe, ride-or-die or inner circle, we each have people we can turn to in the good and not-so-good times. These people are the ones who pray with you, bring you dinner when you're sick or stop by to take you for a scenic drive to get away from it all. If you had to place them in a category, I'd describe these peeps as my sunshine.
I believe life gives us rainbow and sunshine people. Your rainbows are delightful, unpredictable and bring joy when they appear. You may go days, weeks and even months without hearing from or seeing them. You can often pick up where you left off when you last saw them, and understand that they also serve a purpose in our lives. Then you have your sunshine team. These are the people who are always there, whether the sky is blue or cloudy, the sun is always shining, always in the same place and always consistent. You can count on sunshine people. Their actions back their words and you never have to wonder where you stand with them. These are the people you don't have to clean up for before they visit, they come in and grab a mop to help you clean.
Whether you're an only child or one of many, your sunshine people can make your earthly journey a little easier. I call them my tribe, and for me the best part of tribal living is reciprocity. I pray I'm giving back as much as I receive, that I follow the prompts in my heart to call them or pray for them, that I'm intentional about my time with them. I may not have siblings by birth, but the earthbound brothers and sisters placed on my path are treasures, and I got them without having to give up my Now & Laters or Lemonheads.
To my tribe, in case I haven't told you. . .
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
You make me happy when skies are gray.
You'll never know dear, how much I love you.
Please don't take my sunshine away.