The first thing you notice about her is her open, generous smile. She isn’t one who furtively pretends she can’t see you, though you know full well that she can. Instead, she has a smile for everyone and the wealth in her heart overflows to lightly touch the lives of those she encounters that day, even peripherally. She wishes the whole world well and though flawlessness isn’t hers to claim, she smiles at you with both her eyes and her mouth. She’s generous that way and to be withholding doesn’t give her a nasty little kick.
She doesn’t hold to the (faltering) allusion that her children are perfect, despite the evidence they consistently present to the rest of the world. She loves them unconditionally though and doesn’t feel the compulsion to try to live her own disappointed life over again through their newer, less damaged ones, vicariously and viciously. Her joy is to see them rise above her in every way, exceeding and surpassing. There is no scarcity mentality with her. She likes to think of herself as the wind beneath their wings, a la Bette Midler.
She is clean and subtly sweet-smelling. Even working out alongside her, you catch only the occasional whiff of a beautiful shampoo. She likes to look her best, though she isn’t bound by the need to.
She is intelligent, but doesn’t feel compelled to prove it to anyone. She rests contentedly inside herself and just is. Her brain is active and interesting and she always has something to contribute conversationally. She makes you think, long after having left her, because the things she says are insightful and stretching. She would never try to make an intellectual point to the discomfiture of another, though. Her kindness trumps her intellect, if it ever need come to that.
She is creative. Her creativity manifests itself in many different ways. She has sometimes been known to use the very clothes on her body as her palette. She builds furniture even – when the whim strikes – she’s so undaunted by societal gender limits wishing to foist themselves upon her. When she takes photographs, they seem at times to divulge a brief glimpse of Heaven Itself, the unearthly clarity of them is so manifest. Even the meals she cooks are beautiful works of something very akin to art. Rather than content herself with serving the same rotation of seven or so things time over and over again, ad nauseum, she researches new and lovely things to make for her family. Things like Lasagna-Chicken Florentine and Boka Dushi. The prettier sounding their names, the more inclined she feels to recreate them in her own kitchen. She’s talented and strong and whole. Her house is clean and welcoming. You know you can relax there and that she makes strong, good coffee with cream.
She knows that the best gifts she can give her children are a saving faith in Christ, a personal wholeness and a deep and growing love for their father. She doesn’t forget to take care of herself because she knows that whole people beget whole people. She understands deep in her bones that respect in parenting runs in both directions and that you can’t truly have one without the other. She knows that her little flock watch her actions and her words intently and at all times – even and perhaps especially – when they seem to be doing so least. She knows that the phrase do what I say and not what I do rings hollow and is in the best case scenario, meaningless. In its ugliest incarnation, it is damaging and undermining and relationship destroying.
She has other healthy women in her life. She is quick to laugh and competes with you to talk. With her, you are constantly following one conversational rabbit trail or another because she’s inadventently veered you off that way with all her effervescent enthusiasm. She’s frequently grabbing your arm in an animated way, saying don’t let me forget to tell you about what happened to me in the bookstore later because she doesn’t have time just yet to do so, your current talk is so gripping and so deliciously laughter-inducing. Even when her laughing gets to be ridiculously loud, she doesn’t stop. Self-consciousness isn’t something she beats her drum to and instead of annoying most of the people around her, many of them smile when they behold all her spilling-over tangible joy. She is a marvel. She likes to wear Vote For Pedro t-shirts to Zumba class. Her wholeness spills out everywhere and she’s my friend.