I remember as clearly as I fixated over the color of the skirt I wore my first day teaching how amused I was by the tilda eyebrows of one of my most beloved students of all times.

Her glorious brown brows wagged up and down simultaneously,
a glorious earthworm of indignation,
or perhaps incredulity
at my assignment
and too hasty Nothern vernacular.

I was so delighted by her radiant sincerity that I stopped talking midsentence,
and pointed my finger at her,
surprised,
horrified,
perplexed
and noisy eyebrows.
“Tilda!” I exclaimed amazed,
“You’re eyebrows are tildas!
Go write that down!
_one of the advantages of the bastion of my own classroom_
Happy to escape me if only for a moment,
she did and recorded
tilda (eyebrow description)
on the pad I keep by my computer.

When she returned to me more animated than she had left, a praise song of well-groomed, question-mark, eyebrows inquired without words, “Now what?”

I had always thought this student exceptionally beautiful and brilliant, but never loved her more than that day as there is something elastic and time-stamped about a 13 year-old’s ability to express herself exclusively through the subtle, arced mustaches above innocent yet wordly eyeballs.

I knew I wanted to write about the vignette and how it connected me to my own adolescence.

Alas, it was poetry never penned as our lives somersaulted from There to Here. Also at that time, my oldest was 12, not 13, and I ignorantly considered myself immune to the domestic challenges furrowed once noisy eyebrows take root in a peaceful and unsuspecting home.

The Boy can simply look at The Oldest Girl and she’s ready for combat like a grunt on juice.

As for The Mamma?
I might need to be fitted
for a bite plate,
what with all the tooth-grinding
his eyebrows inspire.

Perhaps it was the shock of the move,
or the humidity here,
the hormone poisoning,
or the salt water swims,
but somewhere between the land of There
and our arrival Here,
The Boy got him some noisy eyebrows:

 

These brows say,

“You did NOT just say that to me;

we are not amused.”

 

 

These brows ask,

“You did NOT just say that to me;

you’re a waste of good oxygen.”

 

These brows gasp in social horror,

“You did NOT just say that in front of me (and/or my friends):

You embarrass me and humiliate yourself with that mouth of yours.”

 

These brows chuckle,

<genuine laugh, giggle, hiccup),

He had these same beloved brows _then blonde_ when he was five.

 

These brows challenge,

“You did NOT just say that to me,

You want me to do/say/wear what?”

For those of you who enjoy backstory, when I was around his age, I admit that I spent precious time in furious practice to perfect the questioning-one-eye-brow lift.

If you haven’t ever seen me do it, it’s only because The Husband made me give it up cold turkey  because it so irritated him. He found the look to be condescending. Given the context of when he saw it on my face, I had to submit and repent. Ironically, it took me longer to extinguish the lift than to perfect it.

As such, it’s not that I don’t respect how much can be conveyed in a good brow lift  or its relational implications.

Like when we were kids, my brother could stand across the room and just give me the look and I was furious. Of course, he had practiced and perfected the look that was all eyebrow, by the way, and knew it made my skin crawl.

My reaction was his Payday and better than the candy bar.

Naturally, all my parents observed upon me catapulting myself across the room like a ravenous vampire toward his jugular was him innocently standing there with crossed arms and a perplexed brow.

Let’s just say, the gene did NOT skip a generation.

Now it’s The Boy,
and The Oldest Girl
just might draw first blood.

The Boy versus The Mamma,
The Boy dares a stare down against his old man
(like he could win).

And it’s all so raw,
and real,
and naked,
and intense,
without pretense
or life experience.
Painful,
funny
and oh,
furry
bittersweet.

May it ever be my boy’s elastic brows express his heart as transparently as the cross pours Grace.

May he ever feel free to test limits and find safe boundaries in our Faith and home.

May he never, ever bait his sister unto the point of death.

And however bushy, may his own tilda brows ever raise Hallelujah to the One who made Him ours.

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!