Thursday, June 27, 2013

What does a long marriage look like?

Thirty one years ago this evening, I married my best friend.

I know a few people who claim to have always had the best relationships with their spouses. I won't make that claim. I tend to be a bit too selfish and self serving to  have been the best spouse for my husband. Through it all we have stuck together.

We met in Germany. We laughed the other day that he remembered more about getting me a new car (he blew mine up by over filling the oil on our second date), then when he proposed. We me on the 6th of November and he formally proposed and gave me a ring on his promotion to First LT on Dec 1. Many volksmarches and parties later we flew into Phoenix on the 20 of June and married on the 27. For many years we could not remember when our actual wedding date was, because it had been changed so many times. My mom planned it all. My sister tried on my wedding dress for me. We just slipped into town- had a wonderful Mass and vows and then slipped out.

We honeymooned in Flagstaff first and then England. We had driven to England from our home in Wuerzburg- getting lost somewhere in Holland along the way.  It was a glorious adventure.

We spent Christmas in Egypt and Easter in Greece before leaving to have a baby and work at the Pentagon. We delivered our greatest presents to each other at Mt Vernon's Fort Belvoir and then Bethesda Naval Hospital. Who would know that 20ish years later the Belvoir girl would be married to a Marine (Bethesda) and the Bethesda boy would join the Army (Belvoir).

Three years later saw us in war torn Indianapolis. Whew. That was an adventure that I was thankful to only have six months of.  There is where we met Neil Hyland. Great guy. "Risk" once a week. He left us on 9/11.

Then on to Fort Riley to raise kids and a 150lbs dog named Susie.  We met the Mroszczaks- who have been friends ever since. Our "men" had long days as Captains in the Army. So---Tibideaus and others played. Yes, we would open our back doors and just let the kids play while the air conditioners whined.

Monterey proved to be our first real break in reality. Scott studied Chinese 18 hours a day and I shuffled our kids around to school and the aquarium.

Then Hong Kong. Feels like yesterday- we both can still smell the spices on that one street we had to go through on the double decker bus. We met the Wilners, Coopers, Shultis, Millers and Uncle Buck there. Tight knit the Army gets when very remote.  We both were honored to see places that few have seen or be a part of.

Hawaii was next. Flip flops and school on the beach. Our kids still feel at home there. So do I. Scott, not nearly as much. I guess University is not as fun as hula lessons and playing on banyon trees. WE got Annie in the deal. That dog could endure anything!

Saudi Arabia- sealed our family and gave us nightmares for years to come.  It was some of our highest times and lowest. Still have the abaya and the pictures of that day. We try to remember that  tenting in the Rub Al Khali was worth it.

Flagstaff- the house of our dreams. We built it and came home to it. The kids were raised there for high school. It was perfect for them. There was no way our marriage would survive the environment or lifestyle when both kids left---so we left too. We both miss the house, the mountains and the family- but it was the best choice.

And now Kansas. We have been here for ten years. We have slowly healed from Saudi Arabia and all that it brought. Scott has mowed, chain sawed, boated and woodworked through thick and thin. I traveled, taught and volunteered.  Recently, we have settled into being a pretty good couple.  We have welcomed a new son and daughter through our children. They have brought us loads of joy, crazy trips and conversations. And grandchildren----have I mentioned our grandchildren lately?

What does it mean to be married this long to me? I have learned that romance is often the sick child being taken from your arms at night or the loving holding of hands when your daughter swears into the Air Force. Dedication means your husband sits in the other room while your sister tries to work through her life on the phone- for several years-- and then drops you like a rock.  Joy means greeting a new member of the family and helping everyone to adjust in their own way. Failure means it is simply time to buck up and move forward, no matter if you know what that looks like or not. Faith means you watch together and silently pray that God will take care of your son, when you are unable to, so far away from home. Trust is standing side by side as your parents are ill and leave this world for the next.

All of these things are really love. I am really blessed that God granted me what I prayed for long ago.

"If he cannot be Catholic, let him be Mormon. He will know the value of family and will be dedicated to the difficult person I can be."  I remember that prayer. I got what I asked for.

Monday, June 24, 2013


My parents accumulated a lot of stuff.
The stuff is pretty neat- but there is a lot of it.
My mother moved into an independent living care center 18 months ago.
She is spry in her early 80's.
To say that it was a good move would be an understatement.
She is happier then she has been in fifteen years.
We really thought we would lose her when Dad passed- for all the years of caring for him.


We split up their house when she moved. I journeyed to my childhood home and spent a month going through, inventorying, going through "picking" by sibs and then dispersing the rest.
It was loads of work, but worth it.  I cannot imagine if we were dealing with that stuff and grief.

And now, we are going through the vacation cabin.
If you live in Phoenix, you know that many people have "cabins" in the North.
They were inexpensive years ago (wasn't everything).
You filled them up with stuff. A sand painting here, a piece of furniture there.

Stuff, you know, good stuff.

I assigned myself to the task of clearing. It is so much easier to do this while mom is alive!  She doesn't go North anymore so she never sees the stuff.
When dispersed she will see much of it often in my siblings houses. It is a win/ win.
Of course there is always a catch.
Someone does not want to do "it" on a certain day. Shall we delay---maybe a few months?
Others want to do it ASAP since they do NOT want to deal with the stuff and the grief at the same time.
And so it goes. Like good politicians, we figure it out and move forward. Of course it helps that we have the President of the company still on the Earth directing it to be done and off her plate!

The real point of this writing is the disposal of stuff.  My walls are filled with my own treasures. The floors as well. Our "children" have had the gumption to gather their own tastes.

I am thinking THIS is why so many people in the East have 300 yr old family homes. No one can bare to get rid of the stuff.

 How much stuff do you keep for your next generation?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

What has been filling my time?

The newest member of my family and his brother.
Life is good