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This Wonderful Life

June 18, 2009

This Wonderful Life: Welcome home, no matter where you are


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.

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This Wonderful Life
  • This Wonderful Life: I can say No, but I prefer Yes If popular culture is any indication, it seems women suffer from an epidemic inability to refuse additional responsibilities. Magazines, self-help books and therapists nationwide offer heaps of advice on how to assert oneself, draw boundaries and generally say No when asked to sign on for those things for which we have little time and less interest.

    November 25, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: I wish someone had told me Disclaimer: Because my son more or less demanded that I stop using him and his life as material for my column back when he was 12 or 13, I want to make it perfectly clear to all my readers (and any legal professionals who are now retained or may be retained at some future time by aforementioned son) that this column is not about him. It’s about me. The fact that he happened to turn 21 on Saturday is mere coincidence. So help me God.

    November 19, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: A view through bare branches Every morning, Bee and I stand at the end of the driveway waiting for her bus and we look up into the branches of the elm tree that arches over the drive.

    November 5, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: To Posey on her fourth So here we are, on the other side of 3-years-old, and it seems we both survived it intact. It wasn’t easy, but perhaps it made us both stronger.

    October 30, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: A Posey by any other name... A few weeks ago, Posey gave us all new names. Or, to be more accurate, Posey gave us all one new name. Rose.

    October 8, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: Are pork chops really that good? If it seems unlikely for a vegetarian (that would be me) to own a couple of table- bound pigs, it probably seems downright absurd that their names should be Tender and Delicious.

    October 2, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: I sssssseeeeeee you there The first thing you should know is that I used to suffer from a snake phobia. The operative word there is phobia. It wasn’t just a matter of disliking snakes. It wasn’t a fear of being bitten. It wasn’t a simple reluctance to touch their impossibly dry, nimble bodies.

    September 24, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: What’s so funny? My kids, I hope In my experience as a three-time parent, there is something absolutely, spiritually magical about the first time your child cracks a joke.

    September 17, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: Who are these little girls? There are two children in my house who bear a striking resemblance to my daughters. They are adorable, smart and energetic.

    September 10, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: A harvest that’s good for the soul Signs of harvest are all around. The afternoon sun glows amber over the fields and the farm stands are filled to overflowing with vegetables and fruit. We’re lucky to live in a place where we can have such an immediate connection to the food we eat.

    September 3, 2009