Three days after Christmas I turned 41. Which is a strange thing when one considers that my oldest siblings – the ones who were going on missions and getting married when I was just learning to walk – are all 40 themselves. At least that’s what I’ve been going along thinking. But now that I’ve come both to and past that age, I can’t seem to get the math of them all still being 40 worked out satisfactorily in my mind.
41 years is rather something though, isn’t it. I feel a relief-like sense of accomplishment when I think of all those years traversed. 41 of them! At the same time . . . looking back at those years, the early ones seem such a lifetime ago that it frightens me a little to think . . . if I can explain this properly . . . that I still very well might need to traverse at least that span of years again . . . and that now might seem a lifetime ago by the time I have! When I think of that, I feel I haven’t accomplished so very much at all. In fact I feel . . . rather tired. (Though I suppose the thought of potentially doubling my current amount of wisdom and light is an encouraging one.) (Incidentally, sometimes, in places like grocery store parking lots or doctor’s office waiting rooms, I find myself looking at various random strangers and thinking of how they all started out as brand new newborns – and how, likely, someone loved and adored them, and saw the enormity of their potential, and hoped it all for them. I don’t know why I think it. But I occasionally do and can never get over the . . . wonder or strangeness or something of us all having started that way and all having come such a distance from it.)
In any case, the 41st birthday was pleasant. Mike had to work until quite late – which was sad only because I like his company so much and also because he is very good at being extra attentive on days like birthdays and Mother’s Days – not letting me lift a finger, taking care of every child’s needs, etc. And I missed that. But he did all he could from afar – ordering us Chinese food for dinner; and instructing Abe to pick up various of my favorite snacks and treats from the store – which would appear, mysteriously, following a door-knock every few hours. (Though I’m only assuming that was how they came of course. We’ve been jokingly postulating other theories about who might have been responsible.) And the kids were all wondrous sports about cleaning and ungrumblingly doing anything I asked. In fact, without even being asked Goldie organized the pantry (wisely taking all the crowded cans of food we rarely ever use [beets, kidney beans, etc.] downstairs and bringing all the cans of food I am always sending them to fetch [pork-n-beans, tomato sauce, pumpkin, etc.] upstairs). And Abe, of his own accord, took our couch cushions off and vacuumed up an alarming display of crumbs (particularly alarming since, in theory, the kids don’t eat on those couches).
Anyway, one can’t complain with a day like that.
The day after my birthday was our 18 year anniversary. I sometimes try to recall why on earth those dates are one after the other. Surely they might just as well have been planned a few weeks apart? I think it was something like . . . we were getting married between semester breaks of school; I didn’t want to do it before Christmas because it felt too rushed to get last things planned and ready immediately following finals week, and then I didn’t want to share my after-Christmas birthday with another celebration (heaven forbid), but we still needed a few days to enjoy being married before immediately leaping back into school and work so we couldn’t push it too far past my birthday. I guess the 29th just best fit the bill. Incidentally, we were on our honeymoon as the calendar flipped from 1999 to 2000. We noticed nothing bizarre where we were so we even called home to see if any of the y2k panic had been justified (and we were surprisingly a smidgen disappointed to hear that nothing at all went haywire).
We have found marriage to be a rather enjoyable venture he and I.
When Mike and I started dating, our dad’s were tremendous fans of the idea of us marrying, and, later, after we did in fact marry, they often liked to congratulate each other on whatever hand they had in our coming together. (I’m not sure exactly what the details of that involvement were – beyond agreeing wholeheartedly, when they bumped into each other on Weber State’s campus [where they were both professors] or among their shared group of friends that we would make an ideal match. [Well, that’s not wholly true. Mike’s dad did read him the Lochinvar poem. And he did tell him all was fair in love and war. And perhaps we wouldn’t be here at all without those bits of prodding.] But they do love to congratulate each other [and themselves] enough that at times I think Mike and I are the happy product of an arranged marriage.) In any case, occasionally I get the feeling that God isn’t so very different in feeling from our own fathers when he looks at Mike and me. I think He is quite pleased with himself in arranging this union.