20 December 2010

to have and to hold.


they spoke the words shy into the hush of the church. for richer, for poorer. in sickness and in health.

and they kissed like a promise and the world was their oyster and they didn’t know then, some thirty-nine years ago, all that lay ahead. but they could hope and hold on,


and just look at them smile.

so they held on and hoped through early years of tiny rooms and growing churches and scraping by.


they held on through the bustling of children and soccer and sleep-jolting phone calls summoning my father to mediate another 4am crisis. through weddings and deaths and breaking ground for a new building and watching their sons sing like wonder.


they held on when the keening of a siren split the night, when my dad’s brain shuddered and bled and the doctors shook their heads.

they held on when dad woke to a world shaken wrong, and they each flopped around in ill-fitting roles. they wove their hands together, clinging, watching dreams shrivel small.

and now life is slow, and dad putters about the house, volunteers now and then at the bookstore or senior center. mom comes home from long days at the preschool, stirs beef and broccoli on the stove, waters banana trees that line the back fence. and the phone sits quiet and the children are grown, and still: they hold on.

this is what it means to have and to hold.


and just look at them smile.

* * *

gratitude list, #50-56

parents who cherish each other

the husband of mine who makes the choice, every day, to view me with tenderness

cable heat

peppermint bark

everyone feeling quite healthy, all at the same time

God coming to the very least of us


Kristin said...

Aw, your parents are so cute! And I promise if you switched out the pink/purple flowers in their wedding with yellow ones, that'd be my parents' exact same get-up. Happy anniversary to your parents!

alisa greig said...

this is beautiful :) love your parents! they are an excellent example of having and holding--love it :)

Unknown said...

i love your writing. and will continue to visit.

Grown Up Rachel said...

Beautiful. Your parents are lucky to have each other (and you)! <3 Rachel

Farmgirl Paints said...

Girl you sure know how to make my eyes fill! I am so in love with the way you express yourself. Happy Anniversary to a couple who obviously through thick and thin have made it. Glorious!

Laura said...

This whole post made me smile. Especially this- "God coming to the very least of us." What a wonderful God we have!

amy luella said...

"but they could hope and hold on"
"parents who cherish each other" (rare and beautiful)
"the husband of mine who makes the choice, every day, to view me with tenderness" (because it is a choice. what a guy.)
a lovely summary, nicole, of a lovely couple. and now i want to hear your brothers sing.=)

Love said...

i could never explain how much i love every word of this. come read stories to me while i bake. =)

dixiebelle said...

That is a moving post... thank you for sharing.

Jen said...

I always love your writing, it touches me, but this post moved me to tears. God bless your parents (and you).

Denny said...

Happy Anniversary to your parents. I regularly thank God for them raising you to be you and you choosing to join yourself to my son.

Shannan Martin said...

You make me wish to know the back-story to your every tale.

Your family is beautiful. Well, both of them are, really.

Anonymous said...

I have some pictures like that of my parents when they got married and it's priceless! Wonderful story. Merry Christmas!

MrsKAD said...

Beautiful thoughts!

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

I want to have a marriage, a life, such a that. Beauteous.

Vonda said...

I love this!!! And you know what jumped out at me that is usually SO true? Your mom had that long beautiful hair, and then in the next picture had 2 littles, and CHOPPED ALL THAT HAIR OFF!!! Too funny!!!