The past few weeks have gone by without much happening. The Christmas season is very much upon us and we have been enjoying the season as best we can. Lately, the weather has been terribly cold (for around here ... in the 40s) which has encouraged us to stay inside to keep warm. Hot chocolate, a warm fire, and a half-done puzzle on the coffee table are regulars in our home now as we enjoy spending time together as a family. Truth be told, though, the whole season has so far gone by so fast that we don't really feel like we've been able to truly experience it as we wish we could.
I've lamented my personal feelings about the unfriendliness of time before, but lately I've been feeling it quite keenly. My children seem to be growing up before my eyes. In particular, my youngest child is mid-way through his only year in preschool, and recognizes every alphanumeric character and recognizes every letter sound and can even do rudimentary math. How did he get so grown up?! Worse, though, he's been experimenting with "grown-up" behaviors, such as blatant disobedience and lying. We could do without that ...
But life doesn't ever sit still. At work, I feel like I've lost the whole year ... it feels like it should be February or March, not December, as I'm not done, yet! with that with which I need to be done. I look over this past year and my memories don't seem complete on the events that have occurred; they're like photographic flashes of places and people, rather than a continuous narrative of experience. For example, I'm certain my wife and I took an exceptional vacation for our anniversary in the spring, but that seems like a very vague and disjointed event, the details of which are not well-affixed in my memory. Our summer and fall excursions to Yellowstone and Big Sur, respectively, also feel like strange and distant experiences during which some other person took good notes and lots of pictures (um, I guess that was probably my wife ...). I know we had great times this year, but it feels like things have just happened so fast! It's not terribly fair.
In all honesty, I've been really content with life. Our little family is healthy and safe, we've managed to hold our own in the midst of the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression, and we're doing those things which we love to do. My kids welcome me home with a running hug and are always happy to see me. It's one of those times of which I wish I could take a snapshot so that I could go back and re-experience all the emotions and thoughts and feelings whenever I want.
But it is not to be. My kids do continue to get older, with all the blessings and troubles that that implies. My body continues to gain more creaks and groans as time goes on. The kids keep getting taller and heavier, which only contributes more to my aching back when they insist on jumping up to give me a hug or that I give them a "horse-back" ride (only for my 4-year-old, mind you).
Even at church, things continue to change. We have each had our current responsibilities for several years, her as the stake music chairwoman, and me as the bishop's executive secretary. Recently, we have each received new callings, she as the ward activities committee chair and me as the family history teacher. These new callings are currently additive for both of us. For me, the new calling is a temporary duty, but for her it is additional duty until her old duties can be handed to another. It is a time of excitement, uncertainty, and hope.
Despite all these changes, though, the one thing in my life that I would never put on hold is the one thing that just continues to get better and better: my wonderful wife. Every day, I fall more deeply in love with her. Every day, the fine features of her face are more firmly etched in my mind, and the tender love of her kind and giving personality etched in my heart. Not a morning goes by that I don't tell her I love her; not a night expires without the words "I love you" being uttered. My first thought in each morning is of her warmth beside me, and my last thought of each night is a prayer for her well-being.
So it is that the winds of change continue to blow (right now at a frosty wind-chill of 38 degrees Fahrenheit). There's nothing I can do to stop them, except to bundle up against it, try to face into it with dignity, and do my best to land gracefully when my feet are blown out from underneath me. I just hope the blown out from underneath me part doesn't come for a while because the hot chocolate in my mug would spill ...
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