On Level Ground

Lots of ups and downs lately, a veritable roller coaster ride through life.  Things have evened out a bit on one front, thank goodness- my daughter in law came through her surgery with flying colors and a very positive report from her physician, so my worries on that front have eased up a bit.  (Thanks to everyone for their concern and good thoughts - the vibrations apparently reached all the way to the South Pacific!) When I came home today, my husband was on the phone with our friendly mortgage company, trying to work out the details of that re-finance on our property in Florida, and I felt the roller coaster car speeding toward the top of the next precipice, preparing for another belly wrenching plunge.  But I held on to the safety bar, pressed my feet firmly to the floor, and gutted it out.   My darling husband managed to come up with a few choice "questions" for the banker that actually sent them scampering into their corner with a pledge to "check with their supervisor" and "get back to us tomorrow."  He's really good at that kind of thing :)

And that's only one of the reasons I've stayed married to this guy for the past 32 years (today). 

On May 8, 1976, I was nothing but a baby - 20 years old, and I had never even spent the night away from home- really!  What in the world was I doing getting married?  I'm sure nearly every one of the 150 people in that church were shaking their heads in dismay. 

I was the first of my 13 Michigan cousins to get married - but I'm the only one still  married (to their original spouse, that is!)

So there.

Not that it's always been a picnic.  Of course not.  We've certainly been apart far more than I would have dreamed back on May 8, 1976, when I could barely stand to let him out of my sight for 20 minutes.  He's worked away from home a lot - on long term assignments everywhere from Dayton, Ohio, to Chengde, China.  And he's worked long hours even when he was home.  Sometimes I felt as if I were raising our son alone - and that's a big reason why we didn't have more than one child.  But the reason he worked so hard was to give me the ability to stay home and be a full time mother, something we both felt was really important.  And I'm more grateful than I can say, for those years were a true and lasting gift.

But the distance between us has never been in more than miles.  For at the end of the day, we can count on each other - he knows it, and I know it.  We cover each other's back in those hard "life" things, but we also give each other space to pursue our individual dreams.  We share the same values - the importance of family, of caring for other people, of giving your best effort to everything you do.  And we share the same dreams -traveling the world, making beautiful music, trying to make the world a better place, and sharing life with our children and their children.

I'm certainly not complacent about marriage, even one of 32 years.  My parents marriage ended after 42 years, so I know we're nowhere near home free in the longevity department.  As we move into this middle aged stage of life, with more physical challenges presenting themselves everyday, more world problems intruding on and affecting our hopes and dreams, our patience and thoughtfulness is called upon in new ways.  Because of Jim's neuropathy, he has a hard time taking walks, one of the things we used to love doing.  I admit it, I occasionally get annoyed about that.  Or about the fact that his medications make him sleepy, so he tends to nod off the minute he sits down. 

But he still jumps up when I call his name, ready to do whatever needs to be done.  He still sends me little notes during the day (text messages now) with encouraging words when he knows I need them.  He still thanks me for making dinner, tells me I look great (when I know I don't), and never complains if he can't find a pair of socks that match (as long as he can find the tv remote, it's all good!)  Next Saturday, he'll get up at the crack of dawn and drive me to Sandusky, Ohio to play for my friend's elementary school choir in a competition at Cedar Point - he does it every year.

On May 8, 1976, I might have been only 20 years old, but I knew what I was doing.

He's a good guy. 

And he keeps me grounded on this roller coaster ride of life.

Happy Anniversary, Jamey.

 May 9, 1976