"Life doesn't make any sense without interdependence.
We need each other, and the sooner we learn that,
the better for us all."
Until I was three years old, I lived with my college aged parents in a two bedroom house the size of a postage stamp. The beauty of that house was that the front door was about twenty five yards away from the back door of my grandmother's house, where all things good in my small universe could be found. Four of my uncles and one aunt still lived at home. I was the first grandchild, the first niece, so I was pretty much constantly adored -- every need instantly fulfilled, every wish granted. It was a pretty darn good life until my parents decided to cut short my reign by moving to a bigger house15 miles away, and then, without asking my permission, having another baby. Really. What could they have been thinking? But that's for another post.
My uncles (who were teenagers and young adults at the time) doted on me. They teased me, they let me have candy before dinner, they carried me around and told me stories. When I was a little older, they made me root-beer floats and let me watch Star Trek with them. They played basketball. They wore black Converse high-tops when Converse high-tops were considered serious athletic shoes. Out in the world, they were reserved, a little shy. But in the bosom of home they were boisterous, ravenous, a source of constant entertainment for a little girl. My uncles took up a lot of space in my grandmother's little house. The air was charged with their energy and I was fueled by it, sometimes literally propelled by it.
Standing on my uncle Ronald's feet, my back to his body, my hands reaching up behind me to hold his hands, we would march around the house, my legs propelled by his, my hands held firmly in his grasp. I loved the sensation of moving under HIS steam, not mine. I relished being literally supported by this young man I adored and looked up to. When he stopped walking, I begged for more. And when he grew tired of this game, I sought out uncle Tom or Donald to pick up where Ronald left off. As I look back and try to name this experience, I think what I was feeling was connection, an understanding that I wasn't going to have to navigate this crazy, confusing world alone.
It's funny how easy it is to forget that though. On bad days -- like when I didn't get either of the two jobs I interviewed for even though I was absolutely brilliant -- I can so easily fold inward into self pity and sometimes even secretly enjoy my little pity party (not to mention the self-righteous party favor that comes with it). Good stuff! Really healthy. But the truth is I'm never alone. I've got a great family and I'm pretty darned good at making friends and finding community for myself. I've got a California King sized blanket of love to wrap up in. So when I'm too tired or scared to take another step on my own, all I have to do is look down. Usually I'm standing on someone's feet. All I have to do is reach up and take their hands.