Thursday, April 15, 2010

On this anniversary, a letter to our family:

Dear Mom and Dad, Meem and Pop, Lis, and April. Dear D and G and Grams and Gpas and aunts and uncles and cousins. Dear special friends we choose as family. Dear all of you,

Ten years ago today, a set of heavy wooden doors swung into a purply church to reveal an alter guarded by pale yellow candlesticks of bridesmaids and dark groomsman pillars. I felt your eyes on me as I stared ahead to E, clutching Dad's arm and biting my lip. Your joy was electricity in my blood. I felt your dancing in my core. Your pride humbled me. Your love steadied my knees. You didn't know what was in store for us, but you were there smiling behind us, our background. You were our roots.

Peach trees blossomed, fruited, shed. We welcomed Addie into my stomach, then our life. You spent hours checking the hospital, playing cards, waiting for news. She arrived with great self-importance and you burped her with the routine force of a caring relative. You entered her world of quilt-based babbling, privy to her commentary before she even spoke your language. Our little clan became a part of the family fabric. We wove in awkwardly alongside school-age cousins, trying to find our feet as contributing adult members. You showed us acceptance, patience, hemmed us in. You lent your expertise in barbecue, parenting, family tradition. We picked up threads you started. You were our mentors, our models.

Time sped. Moving boxes. Digital cameras. China hutches. Quilts. Christmas lights. Easter grass. Hank. His "mmm? mmm!" a second dialect of our people. You wrapped him tight in blankets and love. Out of kindness you overlooked his drooling and held your arms open for him to walk in. E and I split paths with school and schedule, you babysat your hearts out. You were the meals on Sunday night, the offers for a few hours off. You were the phone calls and the kisses on tops of heads at Chinese Food, the casseroles on the front porch. You were good for an episode or two of Survivor so I wasn't alone. You were companion to each of us, maybe separately, but always with the underscore of great love for our family unit. Always with the hope for calmer times. You were our sustenance.

Time stopped. Weary, we'd worn through our patience like a nubby old sock. We quit. We stared you down and said we couldn't go on. We tried everything. No solutions. In our pain you packed us, you fed us, you held us up. Your eyes said that you didn't understand, but you bit your own lips and hugged us tight with the furrowed brows of those who can't fix their loved ones' pain. Out of grace you extended yourselves to us across the boundary lines we'd drawn between our families. You didn't let go of those ties though we tried to yank them from your hands. Your calls and meals and gifts were beyond imagination. You opened your homes to us and you prayed. You didn't let go of the idea of an us when we didn't know the path. You were our safety net.

You took care of us and allowed us to grow and find the way ourselves. Though it was E and I who made the commitment, E and I who had to repair the tears we'd allowed, it was you who stitched us up every time we broke. You held us together in ways we couldn't even see. When we came back together, you were there waiting, welcoming. Simone Signoret said "Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years." You were our threads.

This anniversary is cause for reflection. It represents ten years as hard-fought as a mile of battleground, but we made it to this place. It's a chance for me to consider where credit is due. E and I are held together now by a much stronger, knowing bond because of what we've been through. We owe so much of that to you, our family, for the model you set, for the words you offer, for the help you gave. We're blessed to be surrounded by so many who support and bolster us. Ten years, difficulties or not, is a long time. You've done more for us than we'll ever be able to say, and we know that our ability to make it to ten years is a direct result of each of you, every cord that threaded in and out of our lives.

I'm so grateful for the blessing of family. I'm so amazed by what ours has to offer. Thank you for your part in this special anniversary. I love you.

H

4 comments:

  1. Very well written Heather. Love it. Each time I read your posts related to your family I think how awesome it is going to be for Addie and Hank to read these when they grow up. I hope to do the same... I always though journaling was important, but couldn't do it in writing - I've always been more of a typer. Maybe one day someone will create a business of putting people's blogs into hard-bound books... something we can hold to share with our families for years to come :)

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  2. So, so beautiful, thoughtful and well said.

    My favorite part?

    "... you burped her with the routine force of a caring relative."

    Such a writer!!!

    Happy anniversary.

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  3. I shed tears of joy for you on the day your wed, and shed more for you today. We are so happy that you persevered and came out stronger. We love you guys!

    Lis

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  4. Congratulations, Heather! Ten years is something to be proud of. That was a beautiful post.

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