An easy life.

I just finished The Off Season by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, and while I didn’t like it quite as much as I liked Dairy Queen (I never wrote about that book, but I thought it was pretty fantastic), the ending really got me. Now, those of you who think that you might be interested should probably stop here, because I’m going to be quoting from the last paragraph of the book.

All gone? Okay then.

But the thing is, Dad’s not too fond of easy lives. Probably jealous, for one thing. But he’s also seen how a tough life can make you stronger. It got Win and Bill all the way to college because they worked so hard at football. It got Win fighting for his survival. That’s why Dad agreed to take Brian on last summer, because Jimmy Ott wanted Brian to get a work ethic and Schwenk Farm grows that better than anything. And Brian did learn how to work hard, and all season he started as QB thanks to us. But I guess he never learned those other kinds of toughness, like how to stand up to your so-called friends, and how to defend those people who really are your friends even if they’re unpopular or poor or the wrong size. I think what Dad was saying that night–although I’m not sure because I’m never going to ask him–is that Brian’s life has been too easy, and that maybe, just maybe, I deserve someone better. Someone else who’s strong enough to take on a whole herd of trouble when it comes their way.

Now, of course, in most ways Mike and I have easy lives. We have all the benefits of people who live in this country, and we have a home and we never have to worry about food and we get to go to the movies and see Indiana Jones just because we want to. But at the same time, we have faced a herd of trouble here and there, and it has had his challenges. And as I finished this book the day before he graduated, I thought about the man I married, the man who stood up for me against his family, who reinvented himself in order to better provide for us, who was strong for me when my daddy was sick. I wish things had been easier for him, and I wish some of those things hadn’t happened to us. But I am proud to be married to a man who can take on a whole herd of trouble and come out stronger for it.

On a lighter note, how about some pictures?

I like to call this picture, “Spent four years prostrate to the higher mind, got my paper and I was free.” Special thanks to my brother for taking pictures that day. Also, it explains the veritable cornucopia of pictures of pretty girls. (Just kidding. I mean, there were lots of pictures of pretty girls. But that’s because the education department is pretty much all female.)

Would you like to see what Mike’s cake looked like?

Yes, that is a sea turtle with a graduation cap on. Our friend Deb is awesome. She came up with that idea and executed it awesomely.

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