Sunday, November 23, 2014

You Are My Sunshine

I've always been surrounded with love. I don't have any sisters, but I've been blessed with the most remarkable, sweet, ornery and loving brother. When I was around 5 years old, my mom's best friend since middle school and a friend from high school got married. When I was 7-ish, they had their first daughter, and a little sister was born. Angie was an angel in personality and appearance.

I still remember my first baby-sitting job was to sit and hold the bottle in Angie's mouth who was sitting in her little baby seat while her mom mowed the front lawn. I remember how it felt, what an honor it was to be trusted to hold the bottle in her perfectly pursed lips. I loved her so much (and still do!) Watching her here or there (under supervision) taught me to do what I always wanted to be someday. I was like a little mother, as my Nana would call me.

Not too many years later, her precious and spunky sister was born. Becky was feisty from the word go. By the time she was born, I was old enough to baby-sit (at least in those days.) In her early years, she couldn't say my name, and "Jessica" became "Gah-kah" (phonetically speaking.) As they grew up,  we would have "giggle parties", and "dance parties". I haven't had the occasion to see either of them dance, but if they suck at it, then it is ENTIRELY my fault. For whatever reason, back then they saw me as some sort of dance messiah, and I am riddled with the occasional worry that I may have stunted their dance growth. God willing, they've both had interventions and don't move like I did. We almost always had fun. They were a joy to watch!

When I went off to college (and it's still a mystery why their parents allowed this), their mom, Kathy, drove them to Oxford for Miami's little sibs' weekend. My brother was in high school and wasn't into it, so I had my two "sisters" and one of their friends come in for the weekend. God bless my roommate, because all five of us stayed in our dorm room. Becky was still young enough to give piggy-back rides, and there were always fun activities going on.  It was a precious experience filled with laughter and chatter, and they were all still in one piece when they were picked up. I think they came back my sophomore year (I'm too old to remember for sure.)

Our families have grown up together. They've seen me at about every stage of this fifteen year old illness, and I even missed Angie's wedding because of it. But I was there with her, even though in person, I wasn't. I've seen Angie's little boy over the years, and I see qualities of her at that age. I saw Becky get married, and she was a lovely bride. She and her husband moved to California for several years, and I loved hearing about what she was doing. I remembered when I moved to D.C. at about the same age, and how great it felt to get out of Ohio.

They are family.

It's been a rough week. Surgery helped my pain quite a bit, and I'm gratefully going down on some of my pain meds. The side effects are less than fun. To name just a few symptoms, there's the suck-your-soul-out depression, the infuriating insomnia coupled with atrotious anxiety. It's not quite a good time.

Yesterday, I just needed to get out of the house. My mom and I were just starting our voyage through the fruit and vegetable area at the grocery, when I see this glowing face and two big brown eyes that used to look right through to my soul when I would hold her bottle. It was Angie, all coordinated with a cute scarf and purse and coat.... all grown up. She came over and gave me a huge hug, which gave my soul one, too. We talked about her job, her little boy, which brought tears of joys to her eyes. She was a dynamic, beaming ray of light that lifted me right out of my funk. My little sister.

Who knew I could find so much sunshine in Kroger...