Vinita is my second mom. Or maybe my second aunt. It is her birthday weekend, and in thinking about her, I have realized how lucky I am to know her. (This post is too long, but most of my posts are. Too bad.)
She has been a part of my life since I was three years old. Three! My memories of her are intertwined with those of my mother, my aunt, my grandmother, and all of the other women who have been a part of my life from the beginning. (Or, as far back as I can remember, which is just as good.)
Vinita is many things. To my mother, she is an eternally faithful friend. They have shared more joys, pains, questions, and stories than many people ever have the privilege to share with someone else in this life. She has been a haven for my mom. In this aspect, she has been a gift to our family.
She is eternally proud of her husband. She has not bought into the contemporary humor of the witty wife and the moronic man. No. She honors him, she gets joy out of making him happy. She dreams and builds alongside of him – quite literally, at times. Oh and he is very tall, but once you get to know her you don’t notice so much because she carries quite a presence of her own.
She is meticulous and intentional in her tasks. I love watching her go about her day – whether it is preparing a meal or folding laundry. I remember once when I was very small, maybe 6 or 7, watching her fold a load of laundry and taking note of the attention she paid to the folds and the way she smoothed each item as she folded it. She goes about her day – brushing the dog, sweeping the floor, playing piano, reading, whatever it may be – with a grace that few others achieve. Not the kind of grace of someone who is arrogant or putting on a show; but the kind born of simple love.
Most women I know freak out at the first sign of gray hair. Vinita started to go gray in her late 20s and went with it. And she is radiant. I have been with her on many occasions when people stopped her to compliment her hair. I think, at times, it is equally an admiration of her beauty, both the beauty we can see and the beauty that radiates from within. She operates in confidence and intelligence.
Vinita is one of the most composed people I have ever met, which makes it even more fun when something strikes her as hilarious. It doesn’t happen often, but once in a while she will be struck with uncontrollable laughter, resulting in everyone else around her being drawn in to the moment as well.
I am a person that is often loud, chaotic, and brash. I am often the first to talk and if opinions are asked for, I almost always have one. This is a quality I need to tone down, and I am working on it. But Vinita – she has strong convictions, and she does not waver from those convictions. However, she is patient, and she is gentle. She knows that there is strength in silence; there is wisdom found in waiting for the right moment to share.
Vinita is the kind of woman I hope I “grow up” to be.
(Also, she always used to kiss me on the head when it was bedtime, and when I was very small and Rachel and Lyndsay and I all would take a nap together in the same big bed, I would ask for the “horse song,” and she always knew I meant this one.)
I love you, Vinita. Have the happiest birthday.