Dear Strong Woman,

Love is a verb.

Some families make a big to-do over a child returning home. Grand outings. A house full of people. A fridge full of favorite foods. Hugs with extra squeezes and eyes that smile as much if not more than the mouth that shares the face.

But some show their excitement differently.

Maybe they come out to greet you upon arrival, but it’s possible it’s only because they were already outside tending to the garden. Maybe you go out for a meal, but it’s more so to avoid having to cook something rather than to celebrate being together.  Maybe you check out a local event, but maybe you stay in and watch a movie instead, laughing over the lingering smell of burnt popcorn as someone attempted to pop a bag that expired back in 2009. (Why do we even have this?!)


You’re handed a towel to dry dishes or a basket of laundry to put away like it’s a normal occurrence. Hugs are fierce, but brief because there are things to do, and you fit back into that flow as if you never left. Never a question of “What do you want to do while you’re in town?” but more so “This is what we have on the schedule this weekend.” Never knowing if you’re going to be clocking times for a swim meet or grocery shopping or moving furniture or (attempting to) paint momma’s toenails.

This is my family, and I love them for it, and despite living hundreds of miles away and coming back to visit way less often than I would like, it never feels like I’ve missed a beat. I am not treated like someone special, but rather appreciated for the fact that now there is an extra set of hands available to help with something.   And when you’re not around for the little things anymore, these opportunities to be of service to the day-to-day tasks are truly treasured moments.


Perhaps it’s the introvert in me who prefers to blend in rather than be seen, but it’s this kind of environment that allows me to truly exhale and be myself. It’s in this setting where I can rock unwashed hair and a pimply face with ease like it’s the newest trend from New York Fashion Week.  It is here where no one will bat an eyelash if I open a bag of salt and vinegar chips right before dinner because they will all help me finish off said bag without asking.

It is here where the judgement isn’t. (And sometimes where the bra isn’t, either.)

In our home, we might not say “I love you” all that much…

but we sure as hell show it.