Monday, June 20, 2011


"So how many years do you think Daddy and Mommy have been married?" I cuddle Rosie in the crook of my elbow, rest my feet on the coffee table. Jack turns a puzzle piece, pokes and jabs and presses it at every angle. Then he reaches for another, fingers an azure triangle along one edge.

"How many years do you think Daddy and Mommy have been married?"

He blinks. A furrowed brow, "A hundred and fifty," he states, his fingers already on the next piece.

"Almost," I say. "Eleven."


He pauses as if my raised eyebrows and cheerful grin should evoke some significance. Unfettered by adult pleasantries he stares a second then reaches for another puzzle piece. He rotates, presses and pokes, discards, plucks another piece from the pile. Again. And again. And again.

We let the time flutter by in the soft brush of piece against piece. I watch him hunker over the coffee table, match and mismatch color and shape. He mimics Craig.

Every stroke the silhouette of his father, he sets aside a thin piece, grabs one with four long clover arms. He rotates, repeats, rotates, tosses it aside. The gentle toss aside and tussle for a new piece, it's a liturgy, a map, a stride in Daddy's footsteps. He could toss and tussle for hours. He does.

I'm captivated by the rhythm. A chunk of afternoon slips away as I watch boy pretend to be man there at the puzzle. Rotate, toss, tussle.

Eleven years. All these hundreds of puzzles stacked in our basement, hundreds of uneven boxes. thick cut, wonky shaped puzzle pieces in box after box, and now I see it: the gentle, unflappable,unquenchable force of rotate, toss, and tussle. It's the rhythm of our life. It's Craig. Eventually all pieces fit -- all eleven years worth.


974. Craig. Eleven years. The solid weight of eleven years in our pocket.

975. How the whole day children pepper in and out from dates with Gramma and then we slip away, just the two of us downtown for dinner.

976. How Lulie tucks stray hairs behind my ear when we talk nose to nose. Her huge eyes and soft breath.

977. Peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwiches.

978. Salted chocolate.

979. Calibrachoa in coral red.

980. How Lulie's eye patch matched her Sunday dress perfectly today.

981. Discipline. Follow-through. The relentless, never-ending, ceaseless training, teaching, investing, loving. And how it grows love between us.

982. A nugget of wisdom at church today: happiness comes from being able to enjoy things without having to possess them.

983. A birthday party for my dad and brother and the round-robin dessert where we all say what we noticed about the birthday person this year. How our true riches always show, unmistakable, and how every single time I leave proud and humbled to be related to these people.

984. A dear friend's final changed to another day so she could come over with her girls and relax, let the kids whooped it up out back.

985. Pizza and at least three different desserts all at once with a flurry of friends and how when Jack fell in the hot tub fully clothed he made the best of it.

986. Fig basalmic creme.

987. Janie in a Sunday dress made mostly of pink tule.

988. How Craig is nearly impossible to offend.

989. The realization that I'm not.

990. Tuesdays at mom's with my sis-in-laws, the camaraderie and refreshment, the delicious food, the rollicking of cousins, the comparing notes and recipes and advice, the famly-ness of it.

991. Little boy who tip toes into my room this morning to ask, "Momma, when are you going to wake up?"

992. Rosie up on all fours and scouring the house for rocks and erasers, paper clips, marbles, and anything else small enough to hide in her mouth.

993. How our children are turning out to be people we like to be around.

994. A stack of puzzles left on my door step.

995. Tomorrow slated for sun.

holy     experience


HopeUnbroken said...

#989 and 989. . . that is our story, too. and with the realization comes the responsibility, sigh.
congratulations on your anniversary!

Craig and Bethany said...

So true. And, thanks!

Melissa said...

Salted chocolate and calibrachoa--two of my favorites as well.

#995--yes, yes, YES!

I love that picture of you & Craig. Happy anniversary!

Goat said...

Not that life is a puzzle (and it is a puzzle), but the enjoyment of how it goes together. Learning and loving the rhythms. Glad to be a part of that.

Southern Gal said...

Happy 150 Anniversary! So sweet. I love your list as always. But the puzzles? Those are my passion, a hobby I began with my grandmother years ago. I haven't tackled any since she died just over 5 years ago. Maybe it's time.

Craig and Bethany said...

Oh, yes! I'll be thinking of you as we work the next.

Adina said...

Congratulations, you two! The love you give each other is the best gift you are giving your children--and you are giving them many gifts!

Heather said...

Love how your kids are turning out to be people you like. Oh, this is so good!

Happy Anniversary to you both!

Erin @ Wild Whispers said...

Congratulations! Beautiful!

Mari said...

Here from Ann's enjoying your sweet list... happy anniversary and may your week be a blessed one =)

Keisha Valentina said...

Oh! So wonderfully said!

Happy Anniversary to two of the most beautiful people I know.

You are treasured.

Tay Talk said...

Congratulations on 150 years ;) Cheers to the years ahead.

And where can I get some of #986?? YUM.

Craig and Bethany said...

Oh, yes! At a little store called Oil and Vinegar. Such a treat, enjoy.

Lori said...

That picture of the two of you is gorgeous. Blow it up big and look at it every day!! :)