This Saturday, I turned 25. My parents came to town, confirmed that my boyfriend was real, and then proceeded to eat and drink our way around town. I love my parents. I love when they visit. My dear old dad, Adrian, was under the weather all weekend from traveling so much for work. He is the hardest working man I know, and if all Cincinnati could provide him was a quiet place to rest while he fought a cold, that’s enough. He deserves a month of that. Minus the cold.
Last week I asked my mom if she would write the post for today. She could write it about anything. She did. I’m so happy she agreed to write, and I’m so proud to be her daughter. My mother and I are very different women. There’s absolutely no way my life would be a fourth of what it is without her having gifted me with 25 years of life, guidance, and (sometimes tough) love. She’s one of my best friends, weirdly. And I’m sure she appreciate if I cut down on the things I share with her. But I wouldn’t trade any aspect of our relationship. We’re so lucky to be so close. I’m so lucky to have a mother who always has a cardigan and scarf on her, who is happy to walk anywhere, who drinks beer and wears sleeveless dress at her age. She’s the best mom I ever had.
So here’s her. I didn’t make any edits.
I Used to Have Eyebrows
Story telling, reliving favorite family moments is a pretty big deal when all the Vera’s are together. We are a well-balanced mix of extroverts and high functioning introverts, who can ham it up when the clan is all present. There is one story that I get to tell, I’m the only one who saw it, but the whole gang loves it.
The family dog Emma used to love to find toads at the back door and mouth them until they were…spent. The kids would have a tizzy when the dog found another one. They enjoyed watching the toads eat bugs at night at the back door. We even had a clay pot turned upside down by the steps for a cheap, home school, cozy toad house. The toads needed protection, guardian angels. They were ever vigilant to rescue them if Emma found one.
Our youngest daughter was four at that time. I had eyebrows then. I noticed her playing in the backyard one gorgeous, late spring morning. She was throwing something against the newly built eight-foot cedar fence. Her sweetness and joy was so evident in her play. A golden moment in this mom’s life, watching her from in the house as I did my daily routine, she has a smile that will bring world peace in due time. I peeked my head out the back door after realizing she hadn’t stopped throwing the object, retrieving the object after it hit the fence, backing up and throwing it again.
‘Hey my child, whatcha doin?”
“Momma!! I found da toad and need to save him from Emma!!”
“Oh, baby…let’s slide him under the fence”
Raising our kids has been one of the greatest joys in my life. Yet now that I am of the age to have to draw my eyebrows on, there is a melancholy that strikes me. I don’t think it is a yearning for the ‘good ole days’. Not that at all. It’s a little like loss.
Is it that you lose a child to adulthood? Close, but not close. Is it having musings of what you think they will be when they grow up, and when they do, the reality always knocks the wind out of you? Is it a slow dawning that you are on the other side of the hill from them? Those stories and moments are hard for me to hold and not feel an ache along with great delight.
My children have been kind and forgiving to me. I was often a harsh mom. As adults, they continue to want to love and hear more about who their father and I are as individuals. How we made our decisions, what makes us tick. This is a great gift the Lord has given our family. Leaning into grace and forgiveness over time. The world wants to tear us apart. We continue to fight for our relationships. It is gritty and bumpy along the way but well worth the work.
There is another feeling, that of fullness. That brings it more into focus. It is a fullness that manifests itself in tears because your heart and memories are full and very, very greatly blessed.
Thank you, momma. We are greatly blessed. With all of it, or as much as possible.