Rays of Sunlight…

5.) Write about someone who made your childhood bearable.

Mama’s Losin’ It

   Like the majority of us, my childhood was less than ideal. Despite all of the ugly circumstances to steal my innocence though- I was blessed with having some truly amazing people around me. I could write an entire series of memoirs on all of the extraordinary people I knew, as a girl, but always topping that list would be my next door neighbor Melanie, and her family…

  As surely as the day itself rolled around, early Saturday mornings found me slamming a big bouncy ball against the side of Melanie’s house. It was my beckon, for her- my rooster call, if you will. Unfortunately, the side of their house was the wall of her parents bedroom. It’s funny now, but as tired parents in a house full of sleeping children- i bet they failed to see the humor then. I grew up as much within the security of her playhouse, as she did. We grew taller while we were singing about Jesse’s Girl, building Barbie worlds out of anything we could get our hands on and eventually giggling about boys and watching music videos…

  Growing up, she was my dearest friend and her family brought infinite rays of sunlight to pierce my sadness. While my home was one shrouded in darkness and secrets- I remember her house bright and family filled. Every holiday birthed a reason to celebrate with gigantic family gatherings and cups overflowing with happy times and memories; every school morning led to a rushed family together- eating chorizo and eggs around the breakfast table. I could go days feeling things akin to loss and abandonment and then venture just across our fence and suddenly (unexplainably) find myself bubbling with laughter and feeling as light as air.

   Melanie’s dad taught me that dads are around to love their kids. He taught me that love sometimes looked playful and funny, sometimes stern and always nurturing and present.

  Melanie’s mom taught me that it’s a mom’s place to create an environment that her kids feel safe to grow into themselves in. She also showed me that a mom fights for what is right, and always fights for her kids.

  Growing up, I was head over heals in love with Melanie’s older brother and scared-to-death of her older sister. I was sure he was the only boy I’d ever love while she was the meanest person alive…Since growing up, I’ve learned those last two things weren’t true… In fact, I think the most appealing thing about the silly girlhood notion of marrying her brother was being an actual part of their family and her sister is really awesome and I sort of wish I could runaway for a long weekend to hang out with her…

   Honestly, when I look back on those days I don’t know how I made it through the first twelve years of my life unscathed. (and I’m not entirely… but a lot of healing has taken place.) I know that there was no way I would be even half as ok as I am, if it weren’t for them. When the time and opportunity came for someone to step in, on my behalf, and fight for me- they stepped up for battle. Though it felt like a loss saying goodbye, those months later, i still see the impact of their unconditional love stitched all over my life. Twenty three years after I was no longer the annoying little white girl slamming a ball against their bedroom- Melanie’s parents remain two of the best and most amazing people I’ve ever met…
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14 thoughts on “Rays of Sunlight…

  1. "We grew taller while we were singing about Jesse's Girl, building Barbie worlds out of anything we could get our hands on and eventually giggle about boys and watching music videos…"Felt as if I was growing up on the same street as you…and I loved your "ball call". My friends and I had our ways to get each other outside to play also.I think this is such a beautiful illustration that we can be blessed with people who become family to us…when our own family has let us down. So glad that the little girl you had them next door…and so glad that the woman you still remembers! Found you at Mama Kat's

  2. Thank goodness for people like that family. I often think of people that helped my not so happy childhood be better, and I'm so thankful. I hope that if the opportunity presents itself I can be that kind of person too.

  3. This was a great post!! I love that how much you loved them- and felt like part of their family- came right through in your words. I'm glad you had them as neighbors!! Stopping by from Writers Workshop…

  4. What a sweet post and a great reminder that we don't know the impact we'll have on another simply by living life as good people. Thank you for sharing!

  5. I was so touched by the gratitude of this piece. I am so glad that someone was there to help you at such a crucial point in your life. It's obvious, through the emotion of your words, that their presence remains a positive part of you.

  6. Misty, I read this and tears are flowing because at the time I never knew what hellish days you were dealing with. I was only a kid but looking back now as an adult, I would've done anything to help you back then. We always just thought you were this silly kid from next door haha. Coming back to present day, I am so glad we keep in touch after all these years. The life you lead with CHW and that beautiful little girl is a huge pay it forward example. I think I'm just about rambling on here but I must close with this:My mother and father think the world of you too and marvel at how you have grown into an awesome, kind, compassionate and beautiful person. You are the iconic poster child for a Survivor. We all love you to pieces and always wish you the best! Love,AnJanette "the mean older sister" – one ofYour Rays of Sunshine

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