You Are My Sunshine


When I was 13 or so Hannah and I began creating our ‘husband lists’. I guess somewhere along the line at the Good Girl Baptist Camp it was suggested that we create a sort of wish list for the character traits we’d like in a future husband. Janna McKenna had requested cowboy boots, Hannah put down something about blue eyes and I requested that my husband’s favorite color be green and that he like peanut butter as much I did.

As I got older, the list evolved until right around age 16 when Collins girls are allowed to start dating. The final draft only included 5 items, but trust me, they were a psychotic level of specific.

One item was that he call me Beautiful, as a Proper Noun. I have Greg and Vicki to thank for that #relationshipgoals 💕

Another was that he’d tell me to call him when I got home to make sure I made it okay.

Clearly I’ve been a mushy-gush all along.

The last item, I never told anyone. It was my ultimate test, proof from Heaven, sign from God, dew on the fleece, green light means go, just marry him tomorrow.

He needed to know and sing the song “You are my sunshine” without prompting, and with all the correct lyrics.

Like I said, a psychotic level of specific mushy-gush.

I dated my fair share, with this list in the back of my head and not surprisingly, none of them ever hit all five points.

And then I fell in love with Garrett LeVault, and I was all but ready to let go of that list and buy HIM an engagement ring. But God’s good, and he’s funny and I didn’t have to do either of those things.

A few months into our relationship I got a cold, and Garrett made me soup. We sat on the couch in his parents living room while I sniffled my way through some Progresso chicken enchilada.

Out of nowhere, Garrett LeVault starting singing to me.

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.
So please don’t take
My sunshine away.

I can’t make this stuff up.

Since I can remember my grandpa has sung that song to me. And I’ve lived in fear of the day we would lose him, and who would sing to me then? Who would love us that much? He’s been the bulwark, the solid ground for us through so much. Looking at it now, I know I’ve always been most afraid of losing my protector more than losing his song.

We said goodbye to him a week ago, Garrett and I together. I held both of their hands, and my husband promised to take care of me and I sang our song one last time.

I will never grieve a father the way I grieve the loss of my Grandpa. He was that and so much more to us in my lifetime.

It seems silly, to make a list and wait for a nursery rhyme, but I hope that’s what you as fathers and grandfathers strive to be. Someone who will need to be replaced, a man so good that you will leave a space that must be filled. Someone who will not pass from this earth without being missed.

I’m happy for my grandpa, he’s with Jesus. I’m sad for us because of the birthday cards we won’t get and the man we will miss until we see him again. But mostly I’m just overwhelmed by God’s goodness in small things that bring so much comfort.

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