…Your husband comes home from work and rescues you from a spider that you covered with a jar because you were afraid of it.
…A wet wispy kiss by a newborn baby on your cheek.
…Finding crayon pictures on the underside of the bureau drawers you were selling, drawn by an artistic but defiant daughter 25 years previously.
…Opening a suitcase and finding it full of long forgotten dolls, a smiley necklace, and a handy dandy tool set.
…Reading a book of personal stories created in the special language of a kindergartner.
…A teenage child crawls in bed with you because the thunder and lightning are much more frightening upstairs.
…The whole family has a pillow fight in that same bed early on a Sunday morning before church.
…Renewing your vows during a 25th wedding anniversary with your kids, friends, and neighbors, thankfully not realizing it is the last anniversary you will celebrate together.
…A college-age daughter climbs between a sleepy Mom and Dad and at midnight is still chattering about her myriad adventures, roommates and boyfriends.
…A phone call from Colorado late on a Sunday night, “Hi, what are you and Dad doing on June 16 next year?” as a way of telling us she is engaged to be married.
…Sitting on the edge of the Grand Canyon as the sun charms you with an inspirational setting, then realizing it is exceedingly dark and you have no flashlight for the return to the campground.
…Wearing lipstick, rouge, eye shadow, dangly jewelry, dark glasses, shorts and midriff top and hobbling down the gravel driveway in high heels, pushing a baby carriage with the aplomb of a Grande Dame…at the age of three.
…The phone rings at 8 a.m. The youngest daughter at college tremulously tells you she just left the hospital and you thank God she is OK after she, too, totaled the family car.
…Across Alaska’s colorful autumn tundra, snow clad Mt. McKinley stuns you to silence and you cannot believe you are there.
…Holding back tears when your oldest daughter walks down the aisle on her father’s arm to “let no man put asunder,” high in a Colorado Rockies chapel.
…Twenty-five years later, you watch her and her husband renew their wedding vows at a family reunion on New York State’s Lake Sacandaga with their 16-year-old daughter standing up for them.
…Your youngest asks permission to wear your wedding gown, and then throws you a curve by asking you to walk her down the chapel aisle in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.
…Sitting on the sand with Baja seawater lapping at your toes. It is peaceful. Only you and the moon and God are there.
…Watching a proud big sister feeding the new baby, cuddling her like a doll.
…Watching them each walk across the stage for a high school diploma or a college degree.
…A daddy who reaches deep into a pile of blankets to feel for the first time the soft fuzzy head of his new daughter and says, “I touched her,” with such awe.
…Answering the phone at 2 a.m. and the voice at the other end says tremulously, “Mom?” You don’t know which one it is but you know there is a problem and she is scared, but after a few seconds, you realize it isn’t either of your kids! After a few comforting words and hanging up, you say a prayer for some other mother’s problem at 2 a.m.
…Your husband buys a size 40 nightgown for your first Christmas together and you are a size 10. It is purple.
…While canoeing alone in a cypress swamp where everyone said the alligators were hibernating, you see something slithering through the water. It is larger than a breadbox, slightly smaller than your canoe, and sports high brows and a long snout. Fortunately, it appears not hungry for something five-foot two with eyes of blue.
…When your not-too-clean 8-year-old sloshes across the freshly mopped kitchen floor and into the living room, slumps into a chair while munching on a crumbly brownie, totally oblivious to the fact that you have been cleaning, looks at you with big brown eyes, a chocolate and dirt smile, and says, “Gee that was good, Mom!”
…When one of them says to you on the worst day of your life, “The daisies will bloom again, Mom.”
…You receive a card that says, “Mom, I hope I look as good as you do when I’m 50!”
…Looking at the excitement in the eyes of a 16-year-old when she bursts into the house and exclaims she is “high on Christ.”
…Seeing the awe in the eyes of your oldest as she cuddles her newborn daughter.
…Seeing the awe in the eyes of your youngest as she cuddles her newborn son.
…Constantly being picked on by your two children because, depending on who you are with, you call them JanTra or TraJan.
…When you have been married 25 years and bear the stretch marks of two children, the gray hair and wrinkles of your age bracket, have been washing walls and mopping floors all day and you couldn’t possibly look worse if you tried and your husband takes you into his arms, looks you in the eyes, and says, “You’re beautiful.”
I’ve had it all. Happy Valentine’s Day and God Bless.
Sharlene Minshall’s first novel, Winter in the Wilderness, and the fourth edition of her RVing Alaska and Canada are available through Amazon.com. Sharlene’s weekly online blog can be found at rvlife.com under The Silver Gypsy.Research Campgrounds, Plan RV Safe Routes & Turn your phone into an RV GPS.
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