Fifty Years

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This August, my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. What a milestone! Our entire family gathered on Labor Day weekend to celebrate with them.

My parents’ marriage has been marked by much joy–six daughters to raise, sixteen grandchildren, wonderful friendships, and rich experiences. They have weathered significant storms as well–caring for children with chronic illnesses, a job that was at times very stressful and demanding, the death of a newborn son and a 35-year-old daughter. The loss of a grandson at birth. Through the sunlit days and the dark storms, they have remained faithful to their vows to love and support one another. Their marriage has been a source of joy and strength for them and for our whole family.  Their example of love has breathed life into my marriage and those of my sisters as well. We are so grateful.

The weekend was wonderful. It is difficult to get such a large group together since we hail from many different cities and states. But when it happens, it’s fabulous–a time full of joy and celebration. Our family has been so blessed.

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The happy couple (and Lucas). 

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Dad and Mom with all 16 grandchildren!

Cousins!

Lucas loves his cousins!

Jaime and I were talking about the experience one evening, a few days after we returned home. After a brief silence, he asked, “Do you think we will have 50 years together?” I felt my throat tighten. We don’t often have these types of conversations. They are frightening. And of course, we can only guess at the answer. But sometimes, those questions that weigh on our hearts but rarely make it to our lips, have to be voiced.

When Jaime and I were married, I was experiencing excellent health. My lung function was comfortably in the 80s. I had very few limitations, if any. I knew my health could change. Jaime knew my health could change. We had front row seats to the devastating effects of cystic fibrosis. But my reality was so different at the time that it was hard to imagine the struggles that have since invaded our lives and our marriage. At that time, 50 years seemed possible. But now?

My favorite Psalm is Psalm 139. It speaks of God’s intimate love for us and His faithfulness to us throughout our entire lives–from the moment He gives us life until our last breath. Verse 16 says,

Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

I don’t know how many years of life I will have or how many years of marriage we will enjoy. But God does. My days may be cut short by human standards, but it will still be a full, complete life. I will live not one second more or one second less than what God, in His sovereignty, has already ordained. I will be here until the work that He has set out for me on this earth is done. That brings so much comfort.

Will Jaime and I have 50 years? I hope so. I want to experience the same type of long, satisfying marriage my parents have enjoyed. I want to pass on that legacy of love to my son. I adore my life, my husband and my boy. I want to be here to experience all the joys and all the struggles–to share those sunlit days and dark storms together. I want to see my hair change to gray, the lines on my face deepen, to have the joy of holding a grandchild in my arms.

We pray for miracles–that God might heal me, and that a cure might be found.  We pray that medical advancements will be made that will greatly extend my life, or that God would simply give me the strength to continue on with a compromised body. In the meantime, we give thanks that our lives are safely held in God’s hands. Fifty years seems unlikely right now. But no matter how many years we have, we are so grateful to spend them together fulfilling our vows to love and support one another in sickness and in health.

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To have and to hold, until death do us part.

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Father’s Day a Few Days Early

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With Father’s Day right around the corner, I’ve been thinking about the dads closest to me–my father and my husband.

There are many things I admire about my dad.  He always took his role as father and provider very seriously.  In spite of a demanding job he made time to spend with each of his girls and made family time a priority.  I do remember him relaxing sometimes–reading the paper when he got home from work, or sitting on the porch talking with my mom after dinner.  But he was active in most of my memories–playing with us, washing the cars with the hose, helping with the dishes, mowing the lawn, grilling and baking on the weekends, cutting our hair, cleaning, pitching in to make our home run smoothly.  He was never wrapped up in who should do what, he just completed whatever tasks he saw that needed to be done.

Everyone said (and still says) that my dad had the nicest yard in the neighborhood.  He is conscientious and takes good care of what he has, including us.  He is kind and generous.  He is a great model of unconditional love.  I’m sure having six girls tried his patience at times (thus rules like no slamming the doors, no singing at the table, and no screaming were born), but I don’t think he’d trade us in.  He was and is an excellent father.

Dad and newborn me

Dad holding me, 1978

The whole family, 1979.

The whole family, 1979.

Dad and I at the beach when I was three

Dad and I at the beach when I was three, 1981

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Horseback riding, 1985

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Dad showing me his big fish, 1981

My dad showing Lucas some freshly caught fish

Dad showing Lucas some freshly caught fish last week

My husband Jaime is a great dad too.  Lucas and I invade his office space multiple times a week for lunch.  This has resulted in applesauce, yogurt, pen and highlighter on his work clothes I don’t know how many times, but he still lets us come.  He has traded weekends on the couch watching soccer for weekends of chasing a little boy all over the place.  He takes Lucas to the park, to the museum, to the pool, out to run errands, and on the bus. He has put Lucas to bed almost every evening since Lucas was 15 months old.  A once good night’s sleep has turned into a 2 am (ish) wake up call and then several hours of sleeping with a little boy sprawled all over him.  But I don’t hear him complaining.

Jaime uses silly voices when he reads stories and makes boring books fun.  He wrestles with Lucas and tickles him to make him laugh.  In spite of a full time job and a part time job coaching, he always finds a way to have quality time with his boy.  And like my own father, he does dishes, he folds laundry, and he cleans to help keep things afloat, showing that he cares about the kind of home Lucas has and the kind of mother Lucas has (the not-so-frazzled one 🙂 ).

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Brand new Daddy

Reading together

Reading together

Watching the cars go by

Watching the cars go by

Lunch in Daddy's office!

Lunch in Daddy’s office!

Early morning walk

Early morning walk

My cuties

My cuties

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, and a heartfelt thank you to Dad and Jaime.  You have enriched my life and Lucas’s life so much.  I love you both!