Aunt Vera was the fanciest of Aunts. I held her taste to be the pinnacle of style. She was my Martha Stewart before there was a Martha Stewart.
I planned this trip so she could spend time with Bee and meet Posey, although I feared the damage my little nudist daredevil might be able to inflict on a house that had not needed childproofing in some 30 years.
When we arrived, Vera showed the girls immediately to a set of gift bags filled with just the kinds of things that little girls adore — bubbles and a ball decorated with princesses, an over-sized princess coloring book, stickers, a little wooden stationery caddy with flowers and butterflies and an embroidered pillow that read ``Love.’’
I remembered instantly why I so enjoyed those visits. It wasn’t the fact that I got gifts — which I did — but the fact that I felt like my aunt ``got’’ me. She seemed to understand me when I didn’t feel understood in too many places.
I knew she was another person who had never felt at home in the hometown we shared.
She had made her homes in New England and Washington, DC, before retiring to Richmond. I’m not sure she feels entirely at home there, either. But if you visit her, she will do everything she can to make you feel at home there.
It’s a remarkable gift to be able to make people feel at home. It’s more than making them feel welcome and relaxed. It’s about making people feel understood and valued just as they are.
Elizabeth Trever Buchinger is about to hit the road. You can connect with her at www.moremindfulfamily. wordpress.com.