Monday, November 23, 2009

Count Your Many Blessings

Since my recent conversion to Facebook I have noticed an interesting trend. Many of my social networking friends have been spending the month listing all the things they are grateful for. This is an admirable exercise especially when you consider what a rough year this has been for many people around the globe. What’s more, there have been numerous studies that show the psychological benefits of taking time to count your blessings

So in that spirit, let me share some of the things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving season.

  • I am thankful that sweeping the floor in my kitchen is so much like searching for hidden treasure. As my broom passes across the tile, I never know what exciting things will end up in the dust pan. A mismatched earring, a pen with the name of my credit union printed in gold across the side, thirty-seven cents in change, a half eaten bag of Cheetos, a slobbery tennis ball (we own a black lab) and a love letter, written in pink ink, that fell out of my son’s pocket. I need to appreciate this now, as some day I may simply be sweeping dirt and pet hair off my floor.

  • I am thankful that I have a junior high school age daughter so that I can actually live the drama rather than just watching it on Soap Operas. And now thanks to Facebook I can also follow she and her friend’s mood swings as recorded on their profiles:

    • (3:30 pm) I am soooo happy!!!!

    • (3:52 pm) Why are boys soooo stupid????

    • (4:05 pm) I soooo hate life, I wish I never was born!!!!

    • (4:23 pm) He is soooo hot and I love him!!!!

    • (4:30 pm) Parents are soooo the worst!!!!

  • I am thankful for the advent of cell phones that permit me to nag my children no matter how far away they might be. I’m also thankful that staying up late at night waiting for my curfew breaking teenagers to get home so I can chew them out is a thing of the past. Now, thanks to my cell phone, I can accuse, convict and render punishment while texting from the comfort of my own bed.

  • I am thankful for grandchildren that allow me to be the good guy….FINALLY.

  • I am thankful for all the cooks, waiters, busboys and dishwashers who have provided me with many effortless meals over the year. And for my darling children, who manage to make up for the ease and relaxation by destroying the house while I am gone.

  • I am thankful for a husband who is proving you can lose weight after age forty-five and is trying really really hard not to nag me about it.

  • I am thankful for a computer that can fill 98% of my basic social needs. It plays games with me and doesn’t mind if I cheat or quite when I’m losing. It allows me to socialize when I want to - even if that‘s four in the morning. It provides me with hours and hours of information to explore, videos of exotic places to visit and all the latest news on my favorite celebrities. But I’m not addicted to it, just because when it’s in the shop being fixed, I wander the house aimlessly while my fingers stab at invisible keys in front of me is no reason to think I can’t live without it.

  • I’m thankful for compulsory education for children and teenagers and that the summer break lasts a little less than three months.

  • I’m thankful for jean designers who make their pants larger than the size they have listed on the tag. It’s amazing how skinny a person can feel in jeans that keep sliding down your rear.

And finally

  • I’m thankful that I was able to find a place in my over packed refrigerator to fit the frozen 20 plus pound turkey I bought on sale three weeks ago, so I don’t have to find out firsthand what happens when you try to roast a fully frozen bird.

Here’s wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fifty Year of Marriage

Back in 1959 Fidel Castro’s army took over Cuba causing the then leader Fulgencio Baptista, to flee the country. The Soviet Union launched their first spacecraft Luna 1. Disney’s animated classic Sleeping Beauty debuted in theaters. Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper, three major rock and roll stars were killed in a tragic airplane accident. Barbie made her first appearance in toy stores. President Eisenhower signed a bill creating statehood for Hawaii. And Richard Charles Savage and Vicki Dee Martin were married and sealed for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake City Temple.

In a day and age where half of all marriages end in divorce, Dick and Vicki have managed to keep their love and commitment to one another alive for fifty years. I should know, I’ve been there to see it first hand for nearly all of those years.

I am very fortunate to come from a long line of successful marriages. The year my husband and I were married my parents celebrated their twenty-five year anniversary and my grandparents their fiftieth. As I stood with my new husband at our reception, I could barely see more than a few months or a year into the future before it disappeared into a gray fog of incomprehension. Now, as we prepare to mark our own twenty-five years of married life, I have so much more appreciation for the work, sacrifice and commitment that is necessary to create a marriage with the staying power to last half a century.

In order to make their marriage work, my parents had to learn very early to put each other’s needs first. This can’t have been easy. My father’s strong will and stubborn streak came straight from his Irish immigrant grandparents. Qualities that were essential for success in many areas of his life could have been a recipe for disaster in his marriage. My mother too was a woman of confidence and tenacity. And occasionally they would find themselves on opposing sides of a dispute. Yet it was this same stubborn and tenacious quality that pushed them to solve and resolve marital problems and stay true and faithful to each other regardless of the circumstances.

My parents sacrificed a lot in order to bring children into the world and raise them. According to the USDA, the cost of raising a child to the age of eighteen years is approximately 208,000 which means that my parents spent over a million dollars to feed, clothe and educated two daughters and three sons. And that doesn’t count the emotional and physical drain that comes with five teenage/young adult children. And yet I never heard them complain about any lack of finances in our home or the economic compromises they chose to face.

As children we spent many summers camping. Those were occasions of wonder and exploration. As my father would pull out the tent and sleeping bags to pack in the car, the smell of pine sap and outdoors clinging to the fabric would excite emotions of joy and anticipation in all of my siblings. It wasn’t till years later that I learned why we camped so much. It was the least expensive way of vacationing with a large family.

Over the years I have watched the kindness and compassion my parents have shown one another. My mother spent countless hours keeping our home neat, my father’s clothing cleaned and pressed and supporting him as he worked many long hours at his job and then took college courses after work, ultimately graduating with a bachelor’s degree. Later when my mother’s health deteriorated, I watched my father take over these tasks, caring for her needs, keeping the house clean and staying informed on the latest theories and breakthrough’s related to her illness. I believe it is these countless acts of love that account for the framework that has supported their marriage for so many years.

Four of their children are married with strong families, and number five will be joining our ranks very soon. There have been no divorces among us, not to say that there haven’t been trials and challenges. But we have been taught firsthand how to choose our spouses wisely, work through our differences and never give up. A legacy we hope is being passed down to the next generation.

And so it is, with love and tremendous admiration that we celebrate my parents golden anniversary and the fifty years of joy, pain, selfless love and respect that goes along with it. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad.

Free Hit Counters
Search Engine Optimization