My husband, Joe, turned 73 today and our grandson Eli turned two months. It is a day of celebration for me, for the little family Joe and I have created: our son Josh, daughter Ellen and her husband Steve, plus little Eli and his big brother Tarin.
And to think it all started when Joe and I first met at a dance in 1969 and he asked if I wanted a drink. I did not understand if he wanted to buy me one or if he was some sort of a bartender. Turns out he was president of the club that organized the dance and he was being sociable in offering me a drink on the house. I said no, but he asked me to dance anyway, and we have been dancing ever since. Sometimes we step on one another’s feet—there were a few years when we did that regularly. But now we are in step with one another quite nicely—and we actually do go out to dances where we tango and swing and do everything but the polka. I grew up with the polka, but Joe does not find its steps to make sense. So I give him that one and we sit out all oompa-oompa tunes.
Joe and I share religious and political views, like many of the same books, enjoy the same leisure activities. He makes me laugh and he makes me smile. We just got home from a walk along the river a mile from our house—it ends up being about a 4-mile loop. We both thoroughly enjoy that outing, as we do the hikes we take at our Colorado cabin. And we like to dance and, when we’re tired, watch Damages and Nurse Jackie on Netflix.
The best thing about us, though, is that we raised amazing kids. Josh and Ellen are both good people and good citizens of the country and the earth. They are smart and funny and loving. They both live more that a thousand miles from us, but they come home often and visit us in Colorado, and we visit them in Washington and Vermont. So I think they enjoy our company as well. And, you know, there is much to be said about grown kids liking to be around you. Much to be said about that.
Josh is a journalist who creates beautiful prose that is thoughtful and important. Sometimes I feel I need to take notes when I read what he has written. He has been published in The Atlantic, Time, Slate, The Nation, among other national and international magazines, newspapers, and online publications. His blog, The Bug Pit, focuses on geopolitical issues in Central Asia.
Right now Ellen keep busy with her two beautiful little boys, the dear Eli and the energetic and highly personable Tarin. She is also a talented artist—some of my favorites are fossil boxes she creates out of found art. She had a show of her work that made the New York Times, along with a sizable photo. Her husband, Steve, is a wonderful husband and father and a creative and successful entrepreneur who works at home, which allows Ellen breaks during the day to go snowshoeing and cross country skiing.
Ellen gets much of her talent for building from Joe, who makes beautiful wood creations in his basement workshop. Right now he is making amazing cutting boards.
I am in awe of these remarkable people with whom I am privileged to share my life. What a blessing. What a joy. I am thankful for all of them everyday.
Happy birthdays, honeys.