Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Volume X, issue vi, June 2014

Mom and Dad's 50th Wedding Anniversary

When I was a big-haired, acne-speckled, angst-ridden adolescent, I imagined what love was. Like my hair, love was supposed to be big and glamorous and slightly out-of-control. Ideal love, the best kind of love in my mind, was kindled by external traits like beauty and the ability to look good in formal wear for balls. 

On one of these dewy-eyed days, I found myself alone in the station wagon with Mom and Dad, which was such a rare treat that I hardly knew what to do with myself as I was perched in the middle of the back seat behind them, leaning forward on the vinyl seats with anticipation as I asked them the question that had been on my mind. I chirped excitedly: “Mom and Dad, how did you know that you were in love?”

I braced myself with glee as my heart opened and expected to be blown away by a  timeless tale filled with romance, high-speed chases, and chivalrous fights to the death.

Mom and Dad each shared their side of the story. They had been friends and they loved to talk about. . . ideas. I waited for the good part.

I waited for Dad to talk about how gorgeous he thought Mom was when she walked into the ballroom and how her blue eyes sparkled in the moonlight and how she looked like an angel. I waited for Mom to describe Dad’s muscles and how she had never seen anyone more handsome or brave.

Instead they talked about how they couldn’t wait to see each other so they could talk about insights and feelings they had about news of the day or things they had read.

I was so disappointed. I thought, “Don’t they really love each other?”

Finally Dad said, “I knew I was in love with your Mom when I realized that eternity might not be long enough for me to talk to her about all the things we could talk about.”

I can’t even type it without crying. But I didn’t understand it then. I didn’t understand what John Haslam Clark described when he said that loyalty is even better than “love.” But I understand it now, finally, after meeting the one person who makes me wonder if eternity is long enough. And I finally realize that that kind of wondering is actually what romance and beauty are all about. I understand that my heart does “swell wide as eternity” when I think of him and that there is nothing more romantic than that. 

After the dreamiest dream vacation with all of the other couples in our family to  Laguna Beach for five luxurious days of anniversary celebrating, we had a more homey version of the anniversary celebration with all of the kids. Tom and Tracy even came via skype (although Eric kept deliberately placing his derriere in front of the computer so I'm not sure how enjoyable it was for them).
During one of our dinner conversations at Laguna Beach, we divided up the party planning for the family celebration into manageable segments. I volunteered to bring desserts for the party and in my party-planning delirium, blurted out, "I can make cupcakes with Mom and Dad's faces on them!"

Everyone laughed and I said, "Hey! I was serious!"

Later, when I shared the exchange with our kids, Eve said, "Do they even know you??"

My four sous-chefs and I worked for hours crafting five different kinds of d'Evegnee original cupcakes, finally finishing our overblown creations after 1 AM before we needed to pack all of them up to haul down to Utah for the party.

The different cupcakes each had a sugary-sweet anniversary-themed name to call its own: For Butter of For Worse (Butterbeer Cupcakes); Annivers-berry and Cream; Chocolate Peanut Butter Nuptials; Mint Chocolate Marriages; and "I Do" Gluten-free Carrot Cake.

One of my favorite scenes form the evening was watching my oldest brother, Jon, cuddling up with our little Charlie. They looked like two little Hafen peas in a pod.
All of the kids and grandkids wore their "party clothes" to the shindig which consisted of the t-shirts my parents gave to all of us for Christmas last year. Each shirt has the name of each person on the back with their birth order number. When Ethan saw me in my shirt, he said with a grin, "Mom, WHY are you wearing that shirt?" (I don't know where he gets his knack for puns.)

After interviewing my parents about their history and preferences, Mark created a delightful version of a Jeopardy game, which we played "Browns vs Blondes" following our long-standing family tradition. 

d'Evegnee Camping
Eric and I are admittedly the least outdoorsy folks in Rexburg. Our friends and neighbors seem to be constantly in search of the next hunting, camping, or hiking expedition. Not to be out-done, we decided to create our own version of outdoor fun, which we fondly named "d'Evegnee Camping."

For us, roughing it, means roasting hot-dogs over a completely contained fire-pit in our back-yard and playing games and talking on our lawn until it gets dark and we see the stars twinkling in the expansive Idaho evening sky. Then we simply pluck up our camp chairs and happily head back inside to sleep in our warm, comfortable beds.

No swarms of hungry bugs, no crying, no shivering uncontrollably as the nearly sleepless night madly drags on. No worrying that hungry bears will make a midnight snack of your kids. Just full bellies, the crackling of the fire, indoor plumbing and easy clean-up. 
We've also experimented with a "Foil Dinner Bar," where each child can choose their own mixture of vegetables and meat to chuck into the fire. The kids especially enjoy the curly fries with rivers of barbecue sauce. 

The kids loved these! We went a little crazy and added chocolate-covered pretzels and peanut butter to the list of ingredients we've seen other people try.

Daddy Daughter Kickball
For Eve's church activity called "Achievement Days," the girls in our ward had a rip-roaring game of Daddy daughter kickball. Eve was so excited for the event that she could barely concentrate on anything else for days before the game.

I loved seeing the Dads and daughters holding hands as they waited for their turn to kick. I also loved seeing Eric wildly sprinting to home base and finally dramatically sliding into home on his stomach even though the ball was nowhere near him. He never ceases to surprise me with his willingness to incur bodily harm for a laugh.

Marie's Primary Talk
It was Marie's turn to give a short talk in Primary at church this month. As I whispered the words to her, she happily repeated them until I got to the end of the talk and she was clearly bored by my repetitive rhetoric.
I have watched three brothers and one sister get baptized. I love watching them get baptized because they are so happy after! In the scriptures it says that baptism is like a gate or a door. Imagine your favorite place in the world. Maybe it’s the zoo. Maybe it’s Disneyland. Maybe it’s your favorite place to eat. Baptism is like opening the door to go to your favorite place. . . but even better! When we get baptized we open the door that will help us get back to Heavenly Father. We open the door to be with our families forever. We open the door to happiness! I love that!

By the end of the talk,  Marie looked at me with an exasperated expression and whispered loudly,  
"Can you stop opening the door??"

As I was cleaning out our desk in the kitchen, I found this:

I'm so glad she took matters into her own hands and signed Eric's name for him. 

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