And Then I Plateaued, Having Accomplished My Life Goal at Twenty-Five

If you knew me in high school, there’s a seventy percent chance you associate me with livestock.

It started with an inside joke between me and Sharon that through some strange, now forgotten, series of events, ended with me owning two bankers boxes full of gifted cow paraphernalia.

Growing up in the D.C. metropolitan region, despite having once been referred to as “cowgirl,” I’d never met a cow.

After my last birthday and resulting quarter-life crisis, I realized I needed to get serious about accomplishing life goals and meeting a cow rose to the top of my priority list.

My mom’s childhood wasn’t nearly as deprived as my own.

Yet, somehow, her early exposure to cows didn’t result in the same love that grew in me from afar.

My whole life, my exclamations over cows adorability and sweetness were met by her rejoinder that I wouldn’t feel the same way when I met one and experienced its stupidity.

Last weekend, meeting Elsie, I discovered what I’ve believed all along is true.

My mom is a cow liar.

I was a bit hesitant at first, after all, our meeting was the result of many an adolescent daydream.

What if my cow expectations weren’t met?

What if I shamed myself and Elsie didn’t like me?

What if she bit my finger off and I got a robotic replacement but then I forgot my oil can one day and died in a tragic, unable-to-press-the-elevator-emergency-button accident?

But my fears were unfounded.

Elsie and I knew right away our friendship was beautiful and pure and in no way relied on the small treats I’d purchased out of a nearby, repurposed gumball machine.