With each passing year, I find myself feeling more and more amazed that of all the young marriages there have been over the years, Bob and I managed to find each other and be one of those “made in Heaven” marriages that withstand the test of time. Bob and I were married when I was eighteen, and he was twenty…fairly young by any standards. I know that family and friends never expected it to last, and many have told us how surprised they have been over the years, that it has lasted. I can’t say why it has lasted, except that we just love each other. There is no magic formula…just love each other. Love is the glue in a marriage.
For a long time, Bob and I have taken a trip to Thermopolis on one of the weekends around our anniversary, and we always look forward to that. It is a time in a small town, where there isn’t much to do…except to be together. We walk along the trails, soak in the hot mineral tubs, and enjoy wonderful meals. We talk and just renew our commitment to each other. If there is anything special that we have done for our marriage, this would be it. Doing things as a couple is such a great way to bond. Bob and I love to hike, and that makes Winter a less than favorite season, but we love the rest provided it’s not too cold. We find hiking to be a great way to exercise, as well as getting outside and getting some fresh air.
I can’t say if these things are what has kept us close, but we are close, so maybe they are. All I know is that I love Bob more today that when we first married. He is my soulmate, and my one and only. I don’t know what brought us together, other than God, but I’m certainly glad God did bring us together, because my life has been wonderful since the day I met Bob. God knew what I needed, when He sent Bob to me. Today is our 41st wedding annversary. Happy anniversary Honey!! I love you!!
People may think that having children is a way of staying young, or reliving our childhood, but in reality, having children ages the parents. They go from being free from responsibility to being surrounded by responsibilities. Diapers, feedings, and lots of tears give way to school days, after school sports, and homework…which gives way to the terrible teens, dating, and driving. By the time they have graduated and moved out, you tend to feel either old, or overwhelmed at the thought of an empty nest, wondering where all the years have gone. Ok, those years weren’t that bad, but if all that happened in a short time, you would feel completely shell shocked. Being a parent is a big life change. Of course, all too soon, those years are over, and our children are grown up. Suddenly, when we are once again free from responsibility, we just don’t feel the same about it anymore.
Then, just as suddenly our kids bless us with grandchildren, and in the absence of the parental responsibility, we find out that it isn’t our kids that keep us young, but our grandkids. We find ourselves going outside and playing with the kids again, and not just pushing them in the swings. Sometimes we have to wonder what we were thinking. When we try to do cartwheels, or skateboard, or jumping on the trampoline, and realize that maybe we were being young, or maybe we were being foolish. When my grandkids were first getting cell phones, they brought me into the 21st century where a cell phone was not just for talking on, because if I wanted to staying touch with them, I had to text. It was the thing. Thankfully that wasn’t dangerous. Then came Facebook, which I originally got of to keep up with my teenaged grandchildren’s busy lives…I know, I know, my Facebook use has exploded from there…what can I say. The things we do for our grandkids…right. But then, I would do anything for them, and I think they know that. Basically, what I’m saying is that my grandchildren have kept me young. How amazing is that.
That is what my cousins, Terry and Shannon Limmer have found out too. With grandchildren from wagon to bicycle age, they have re-experienced all of those life events that kids go through. One day, Terry got the idea to see if he could still ride a bike. Supposedly, it’s something you never forget how to do, right. The biggest problem I can see here is that Terry is pretty tall, and his granddaughter, Trinity’s bicycle is pretty little, since Trinity and her twin brother, Triston Patsie are just 9 years old. Nevertheless, Terry proved that he’s not old. He’s still got it, and that includes a bicycle that is far too little for his tall frame. Shannon also proves to the kids that she can still play, and she can either pull or be pulled in their wagon. Their play with the kids is that of adults going through a second childhood. It’s what we do for our grandchildren, because our grandchildren help us to be young again.
The past few years have brought much change in my Aunt Bonnie McDaniels’ life. About two and a half years ago, her husband, my Uncle Jack McDaniels left us for Heaven. That was the most significant and the saddest change for sure. Uncle Jack had been the love of her life, and his passing marked the end of an era for her. Her children and grandchildren have stepped in to help her cope with the feelings of saddness and loss, but then they were always there for her and Uncle Jack too.
Another change that has impacted Aunt Bonnie’s life recently is the fact that the bridge that she used to get to town whenever she went was burned down when someone set off fireworks on it’s wooden surface. I couldn’t believe that the state would not rebuild that bridge, because it made life very inconvenient for a number of people. For a long time, to go to town, Aunt Bonnie had to take the back roads and let me tell you, it is a much longer drive. Of course, the biggest concern was the ability to evacuate in the event of a fire. That made me want to keep Aunt Bonnie in prayer for protection every day. After a time, and probably many complaints, the bridge was rebuilt, but I’ll still keep her in prayer.
These days, Aunt Bonnie is beginning to branch out some, and that makes me very happy for her. Recently, her family took the opportunity to go to Artisan Alley, and spend the evening painting. Artisan Alley is a newer place in Casper, where you can take a group of people in and paint…with a little instruction, thankfully. They also have wine if you want it. I have not been there yet, but everyone I have talked to who has said it is a lot of fun. Looking at Aunt Bonnie, who looks more and more like her mother every day, I can see that she enjoyed herself immensely. I am always glad when the children step in and take their widowed parent to do things. It keeps their parent young, and it will always be a blessing for the children too.
From what I’m told, the family had such a good time painting, that the next planned adventure is going to be pottery. My Aunt Bonnie has long been a bit of the artist in the family. Her cakes are famous around here, and even beyond our town. That said, I think she will really excel at these new artistic ventures, and who knows, maybe she will take up the arts on her own time. Famous artists don’t necessarily have to start out young. There is always time to start something new. Today is Aunt Bonnie’s birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Bonnie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
When I first became acquainted with my cousin, Betsy’s daughter, Autumn, I immediately liked her. It’s odd I suppose, not to know your cousin’s daughter, or at least not very well, but in big families, that is how it goes sometimes. The family just gets so big that you can really lose touch, even when you all live in the same town. I was trying to connect with all the family members to get information for a book with family information in it so that we could all at least know addresses, phone numbers, family members, and birthdays. It was a monumental effort, and I needed the help of as many family members as I could find.
That was the main reason I connected with everyone on Facebook, but then, something amazing happened. I started getting to know the people in my family…people I had never known before. That was when I met Autumn. A sweet spirit, I could see that she had a heart of gold, and that she was very loyal to those she cared about. Autumn was the type of person who extends the hand of friendship easily…much more easily than I do, because I am a little shy. She has no such problem though, and every time I see her, she is quick to say hello and visit with me, and other family members. What a blessing that is to me.
As one of the older cousins, I suppose I am viewed as being in the same group as the aunts and uncles, and to many of the kids, that could mean that I am viewed as boring and outdated, but that is not the way Autumn treats me. She makes a point of saying hello to me and making me feel special. How sweet is that? I think that is just the way she is with everyone, because she just seems to come by it so naturally. When you have made up your mind to treat people great, no matter who they are…young or old…you have created, in yourself, a great person. And, that is the person Autumn is. If you don’t know her…you are missing out!! Today, Autumn is sweet 16!! Autumn, I hope you have the most amazing sweet 16th birthday ever!! Happy birthday Autumn!! We love you!!
Bob’s great grandmother was a truly amazing woman. She lived to be 97 years young…and she lived at home. She just never seemed to age. She loved them, and she was patient with them. She didn’t mind their play, and in fact, she loved it, noise, mess, and all. She loved their laughter, and she laughed with them. Many older people get grouchy and don’t like noise, but she loved it when kids were involved.
I first met Great Grandma Knox when she traveled from her home in Yakima, Washington to Casper, Wyoming with he husband Edgar, her son Frank and his wife Helen. She was such a sweet woman. I enjoyed talking with her immensely, so I can totally understand why the kids all loved being with her. She was blessed enough to spend time with 4 generations of her offspring, from her children to her great great grandchildren…or was it her offspring that was blessed. I tend to think the latter, because Grandma Knox just simply had a way with kids.
When Bob and I went up to visit her in September of 1976, just a month after Grandpa passed away, she still had a gentleness of spirit, and the ability to enjoy her great great grandchildren, my daughters, Corrie and Amy. A number of years later, she would again travel to Casper to see the remainder of the grandchildren born during her lifetime. The kids had such a great time. Again, I marveled at how she took such great pleasure in the laughter and play of her great great grandchildren, just as she had her children and grandchildren. The kids giggled and played, running around the house, like they always did when they were together, and instead of seeming annoyed, Grandma Knox seemed delighted. I suppose that is the reason the kids were still smiling in the pictures we took. It was because she had a way with kids and they truly loved her.
When a kid gets a baby sister or brother, they are usually so excited…especially if they had been the only child. My sister, Cheryl felt that way when I came along. She finally had a baby sibling of her own. I can’t say that she felt that way through put adolescent years, but it was great while it lasted…in those early years.
While we were little, we got along great and loved being sisters. I saw a movie my parents had taken of us when we were little. I had learned to crawl, and Cheryl was pretty hard pressed to keep up with me. In the movie, Cheryl would crawl beside me for a few minutes, but when she started to get behind, she got up and began to walk to catch up. Then she would try crawling again…but it didn’t do her any good. I was too fast for her.
During our adolescent years, we fought like cats and dogs. I’m sure I was always in the way, because Cheryl seemed so grown up and sophisticated to me, and I just wanted to hang out with her and her friends. She on the other hand didn’t want to hang out this her nerdy kid sister. Those days it just didn’t matter what we did, we couldn’t get along. We were too different. And we were both very strong willed. The two things didn’t add up to a comfortable relationship. Thankfully those awkward years don’t last forever.
After Cheryl was married, we still fought, mostly because I was still young and again, we were very different. Shortly after her second child, Toni was born, we had our worst fight…and our last. Yes, it was physical, and…there was no winner. The next day, with both of us feeling a little sore, we decided that we were too old for such fighting. We have been close friends and even closer sisters since that day. Not many people who have been at odds so much of their lives can turn around and be very loyal friends. We were and still are very blessed.
I can’t tell you that we never fought again, because we did…but never physical. Our arguments were small and unimportant, and never lasted long. Mostly though, we were very good friends. My life has been so much better because of our friendship. My sister is the amazing person I thought she was when I was a kid. She is strong and yet, kind. She is beautiful in every way. She has a sweet spirit, that is a blessing to all who know her.
Sixteen years ago, my youngest daughter married her best friend, Travis. It is hard for me to believe that it has been sixteen years. I remember thinking how young they both were, but with them, it didn’t seem to matter. I suppose that is a very common thing for a mother to think when her daughter gets married. It is inevitable that you children never seem old enough to get married. Nevertheless, they were very much in love, and they have stayed very much in love all these years. Today is the 16th Anniversary of that marriage, and it has been a blessed union.
They have both worked very hard over the years to give their family the best they can afford, but more than they, they give their family love…and just as important, laughter. Their union has been blessed with 2 children, my only granddaughter Shai, and her brother Caalab. The kids are as quick witted as their parents, and that makes for lots of joking around. I remember stopping by to pick up one or both of the kids, and hearing the laughter coming from inside, quite often. You see, Travis is a bit of a class clown type, and that makes for a home filled with joking and laughter. That is not a bad thing. I think that if a family can laugh about life, they are far better able to keep their family life strong, and possibly more sane…although that might be argued by some.
In a time when many marriages fail within a year or two, their marriage becomes more and more rare with each passing year. I guess that just goes to show that with hard work and much love a marriage can grow stronger through the passing years and can stand the test of time. You just need to focus on the one you love, and not the distractions that try to come into your lives, and be true to your spouse, and you can make it. That is just what they have done, and I am very proud of both of them.
Beyond the laughter, I can say that even though sometimes there were tough times, that weathered the storms of life and came out on the other side…still in love. The kids who I wasn’t sure were ready for marriage are gone now, and in their place are two grown up, hard working people who can be counted on in times of trouble, as well as in the good times, to be an irreplaceable part of our family and a great blessing to all who know them. Happy 16th Anniversary Amy and Travis!!