I question the idea of who a perfect woman is. She's the topic of books, podcasts, and talk shows but few have ever really seen her.
Her dining room table was piled high with packets of tomato seeds, a ceramic hen which once held a dish scrubber in its beak, and her favorite Bible bound together with duct tape and prayer.
Generations of doodles and proclamations such as “Hugh was here” were etched into layers of dust on various furniture pieces.
Aunt Goldie was a farm girl. When she shook her finger at the neighbor kids and said to stop running around like chickens with their heads cut off, she was speaking from personal observation.
And hanging on her wall over her favorite rocking chair was the poem Babies Don’t Keep by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton.
“Cleaning and scrubbing can wait ‘til tomorrow, for babies grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow. So settle down cobwebs, dust go to sleep, I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.
In the house across the street, another woman topped her table with seasonal centerpieces and settings ready for a full course meal.
White gloves safely roamed without fear of dirt, and she often reminded those same neighbor kids of the proper way ladies act.
Aunt Winnie’s kitchen was filled with neatly organized drawers. Boxes of labeled recipes and exquisite shards of material sat neatly folded in the sewing room where she spent hours sewing buttons and stitching up pants.
She made perfectly pleated pants and shirts for all the kids who came to her home. And when they'd tidy up after playtime, her willowy voice sang.
“Clean up! Clean up! Cleaning up is fun. Clean up! Clean up! Until the work is done.”
Two women. Opposites in every way but one: they both loved well. They both enjoyed life. Just in their own totally different ways.
With these two women in mind, I question the idea of who a perfect woman is. She's the topic of books, podcasts, and talk shows but few have ever really seen her. She gracefully juggles it all with kids who make their beds without being told 14 times and don't lose their shoes in the creek once a week.
(Logan was restricted to dollar flip flops for the summer which I call disposable shoes.)
But what if there's no such thing as a perfect woman? Sure we all have things to improve, but maybe our best traits are those funny quirks we keep trying to self-help away.
Truth is, we are each our own special recipe with unique combinations of ingredients that make up a one of a kind flavor.
Some are sweet with a touch of heat; others are salty with fruity undertones. There is zesty, a little acidic (generally just needing some sugar) and my personal favorite — jelly filled.
Some flavors don't mix well while others are fantastically paired with wine.
If everyone were all the same then the world would be tasteless. It would all just be bland.
Each person in our life brings a special flavor, and enriches our pallets. We can learn something from each personality but even more we can enjoy each other's differences.
Just like those two women I talked about. They were two favorite aunts of my Dad who he regularly recalls in his memories. Both impacted his life, and both were part of the man he became.
He learned from Aunt Goldie that you can write in the dust as long as you don't date it, and that people are more important than tidiness.
He learned from Aunt Winnie how to thread a needle and that you can make anything more fun — even cleaning — if you have the right attitude.
Not only did they love Dad but they loved each other. Their differences did not separate them but brought them together, because they understood that life was meant to be flavorful.
That doesn't mean Winnie didn't point out the dust on the table, or even take it upon herself to run a duster over it when Goldie wasn't looking.
It also doesn't mean that Goldie didn't roll her eyes at Winnie’s perfectionism.
But they both loved well. They both savored life.
And those are all the aspects of a mighty fine meal.