Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Woman in her Thirties on Fifty Years

My in-laws have been married fifty years this year, so we celebrated this weekend.  Before I go into a post about it, I think we need to break that first sentence down.

These people got married in 1964:


In talking about how to celebrate this milestone, I saw a common theme among my married friends and family:  Making it to fifty years of marriage is downright incredible.  Marriage is hard, hard work.  I mean, don't get me wrong.  My ALMOST SIX years have been nothing but magical walks on the beach...

Magic, I tell you. 

But fifty?  FIFTY? That takes some serious commitment, people.

The evening was marked with speeches and toasts, all from friends and family both distant and not-so-distant, but everyone touched on that aspect of marriage.  The ups.  The downs.  The decisions that need to be made along the way to stick it out, stay in love, hold hands and make it through.  I can't speak for everyone there, but it was certainly a lesson in perspective for me.

Oh, and the dancing:

And serenading (amaze):

And catching up with family and friends:

And feeling the sense of community that comes from fifty years. In my very brief toast, I said that Ye Ye and Nie Nie's fifty years have been a blessing to all of us, and I meant it.  I know as a fact that they still, after all this time, snuggle up on the couch with popcorn and whatever Michigan game is on TV. A woman in her thirties might get caught up in life goals, money, the long list of 'wants' in her life, but I can't imagine anything better than that.

So happy anniversary to my wonderful in-laws.  May you have fifty more years of happiness, and may that happiness be punctuated by many Michigan wins.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Woman in her Thirties and the Lonely Boy at the Zoo

Last month, Anna and I went to the zoo. We were supposed to see butterflies, but unfortunately that exhibit wasn't open yet.  So we saw penguins instead.

Then we grabbed some lunch-- a slice of pizza to share.  It was a great morning, actually. I don't ever take my girl time with Anna for granted.

There were school groups everywhere, as is often the case at the zoo.  But as we were leaving, I noticed a boy sitting by himself at a table, obviously friend-less and very alone.

(Full disclosure:  In seven years teaching, I never figured out how to deal with the emotions I feel regarding the excluded kids.  It got so bad that there was a while there when I would avoid leaving my classroom at lunch for fear of seeing a kid like this one, sitting alone in the hallway, waiting for the bell to ring so their humiliation could end.  It kills me.  KILLS me.)

So we walked by him and I gave him a weak smile, then Anna and I proceeded to the aquarium so we could see a couple more things:

But I could not get this kid out of my head.  I know I was only seeing him for a tiny second of his life, and maybe his life is totally happy otherwise, but this second was just so painful that it brought tears to my eyes.

So that night, Anna and I said our prayers.  Our prayers consist of two things:  Things we thank God for and things to ask God for (hey, I'm a work in progress here).  Anna always thanks God for "Uncle Chris" and her "Cousin Uncle Patrick".  We usually pray for Grandma, Ye Ye and Nie Nie, and all of our friends.  

But this night, I said, "Let's say a prayer for the lonely boy at the zoo.  That he finds a friend."

Anna agreed, and that was that.  But then the next night, after a fabulous day at the art fair, when we said our prayers....

... her first words were, "We have to pray for the lonely boy at the zoo."

I smiled, of course, and said yes.  And then the next night, and every night since then.

Finally a couple weeks ago she had an epiphany. "Momma? The lonely boy needs a friend."

I said, "Yes, Bubbie, the lonely boy does need a friend."

She thought about it for a second. "How about I be his friend?"

A woman in her thirties who is a mom has many proud moments.  My day is filled with proud moments.  But I can't think of anything that makes me more proud than my sweet Anna's enormous heart.