Friday, August 13, 2004

Time Is On Our Side

Melissa and I have been married for eleven years today. We were married on a Friday the 13th, back in 1993, and so to us that date has always been a fortunate and lucky one, rather than otherwise. The fact that this year August 13 is a Friday makes this anniversary all the more fun. I have no idea what we're going to do--Jonesboro isn't exactly jumping with entertainment options, and Alison is too small and needy to allow us a serious anniversary journey. So our babysitter will come over this evening after Alison is in bed and the other girls are getting ready, and in all likelihood all we'll do hit a local coffeeshop, maybe do some shopping (shopping without children--why, it's been years!), and talk.

Eleven years isn't that long, of course, but it's getting there. Melissa's mom says that it was when she realized that she'd been married longer than she'd been single that the passage of time really hit her. We'll need another eleven years before that's the case for Melissa; a little longer for me. But I can see it coming. Our oldest girl, Megan, turned eight this week, an important age for Mormon children (that's the usual age for receiving baptism in our church). Caitlyn is four. It's been three years since I earned my Ph.D. And so forth, and so on.

Megan received a touching birthday card from my mother's mother this week; in her shaky handwriting (which included the sad line, "I'm sorry; my eyes are getting so weak"), she told Megan how proud she was of her great-granddaughter (one of many). We saw Grandma Jolley out in Utah last year, and it might be the last time we see her or Grandpa Jolley alive; both are declining fast. They've had a long life and are surrounded by family: three of their sons and their families are there in Vernal, a little town in northeastern Utah, near the Uintah Mountains, and extended family are nearby as well. And they have children buried there too. Neither are very ill, but time is taking its toll, and will probably overwhelm them soon. Then I won't have any grandparents left, my father's parents having passed away after many years together as well. Grandma Fox outlived her husband by a few years, but she was never the same after he died; her mind focused more and more on her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, until she couldn't care for herself any longer. Uncle Chuck, my father's little brother, moved his family into Grandma's old house, and tended her full-time almost until the end. She would write us letters and birthday cards, as Grandma Jolley does today, and they became sweetly incoherent: sentence fragments, repeated questions, lines from hymns she'd learned in Sunday School eighty years earlier. I'm sure, somewhere in her mind, she missed Grandpa Fox until the end, and hoped that time would overcome her soon as well.

It'll do the same to Melissa and I too, sooner or later. But that doesn't worry me. Partly it's my specific religious beliefs about marriage which prevent me from feeling much concern about Melissa's and my fate, but mostly it's a broader conviction that tomorrow isn't really my concern. We're in the midst of ordinary things here: baptisms and birthdays and anniversaries among them. That's sufficient to make the time worthwhile, and worth being grateful for.


Anonymous said...

Congrats on your eleventh anniversary! And I'm glad to see a person can post anonymously now. :)


Kim Siever said...

We're celebrating our 10th in May. It will be an exciting time. I too have eleven years until we've been married as long as I was single. My wife has a little longer to go. It is bewildering to think that our daughter will be baptised in another 2 years or so.

Beautiful post, by the way. It made me reflect on the wonderful relationship my wife and I have cultivated thus far.

julieann said...

Happy Anniversary! Although I am a day late in saying that I think it will still stick! :) I wish you years of happiness and every blessing God has to offer.

Laura said...

Congratulations, Russell, on your 11 year anniversary. And on the new blog. And on getting a night out by yourself. All good things.

I appreciate your musings about your grandparents. My grandmother died last year, while holding my hand in the hospital. I miss her all the time.