Photo Essay: The Rockin' Years

Life with my husband is so rich that I cannot imagine more happiness than to be with him.
— Joan Uda: At The Water's Edge

Do you know Dolly Parton's song, Rockin' Years? It speaks of holding close to your spouse through life. (rockin' years) 

Thirty-three years ago God gave me the most wonderful gift I'd ever receive, aside from my salvation and relationship with Him. He sent me James. While I daydreamed about my future husband, I actually forgot to go outside and see the annular solar eclipse that occurred that year.

James and I married August 11, 1984, just twelve weeks after we met, a package deal that included my two children. James, without question, partnered with me to raise them. In 1987 our youngest was born. In addition, there's now four living grandchildren with a fifth on the way. Like most couples, we've worried about our kids and grand kids, money, health, jobs - the usual stuff, but approached every problem side by side.

Through illnesses and surgeries, we've seen each other at our worst physically - whinny, his not being shaven for days, no make-up for me, bed head, and stinky, awful things that happen in the bathroom that need no further explanation. Yep, we've seen it all and gotten through it.

We've comforted one another through lost jobs and disappointments. I've encouraged and believed in him in his business endeavors, he's supported me in my writing and cheered me on when I've been ready to give up. 

My friend, my lover, we've walked moonlit beaches smooching, grasped nervous hands on helicopters being tossed around like toys, walked New York City streets until we grew so tired I was pretty sure we were going to die of stupid from not knowing when to stop.

We held on tight to one another when our oldest son was robbed, beaten and narrowly escaped being killed at a work-site, and as we bore the agonizing sobs of our daughter when our stillborn granddaughter came into the world, and when our youngest was deployed to Afghanistan and sustained a serious injury. We've stood as one, united and prayed for our children. We've held hands at gravesides and said goodbye to dear loved ones and friends. Together we sat at the kitchen table on 9/11, overwhelmed when the planes flew through the Twin Towers, our Pentagon and into the fields of Pennsylvania and took thousands of lives and destroyed the innocence of this great nation.

During moments of silliness we've laughed at ridiculous things we've experienced: exploring a bamboo forest at dusk with quick sand a factor, trying to figure out modern technology, accidentally getting on a city bus rather than a hop on, hop off bus in NYC and being squished into strangers who hadn't seen a bar of soap in days while the driver shouted at us to move back further because we still were not behind the yellow line. 

We soldiered through the cold October night in a drizzling rain when our rental house burned, the firemen, policemen and insurance adjuster gone home. We watched as the truck from the electric company arrived and took the last salvageable thing from the house, the electric meter and wondered if all we'd invested in the place had literally gone up in smoke.  

We've worshiped and served God together, hiked up mountain slopes stopping to enjoy the bursts of fall colors and listen to the roaring water. We've stood at the base of Niagara Falls, amazed by water's power and fascinated by the rainbows. We've sat in our own back yard at dusk with the grandchildren and watched the lightening bug show.  

We've tolerated each other's annoying habits with a whole lot of love and respect and a good measure of grace.  

We've worked alongside each other on rental properties that were trashed as people moved out and we went in to bring them back to life and as we've cut grass and pruned yards, sweat pouring down our brows. When we become exhausted and it's getting late in the day, we sing our made up ditty. Work all day, work all night....and so it goes. Only six words, but they're ours.  

As James and I move through life I know I'll love him until the end. We've rocked babies and lived as fruitful and godly lives as we knew how. I look forward to the rest of our rockin' years and thank God for James. Perhaps, when we're elderly, we'll sit in rocking chairs side by side in a nursing home reminiscing. Someday one of us will be left alone if we die natural deaths. As for today, my handsome groom will make sure I don't miss this solar eclipse. We'll step outside and hand in hand view the natural wonder provided by our Creator.