30 Years

Today is my parents’ 30th wedding anniversary. Thirty perfect years of matrimony, problem-free and nothing but bliss. As one would expect, right?
The past several months have had my reflect on my own marriage.  M and I will celebrate our fourth anniversary in exactly a month (because if it’s not a multiple of 11, we Fryers can’t remember it*). ?Which, frankly, is an odd thing to admit. Then again, I can’t seem to admit how old my kids are, and neither are in double-digits yet.

This summer our family dealt with a very annoying health issue. Nothing serious, but extremely tedious. M would apologize when I had to take care of her, but I didn’t think anything of it. It’s just what family does for each other. Same as when you have to clean the dirty diapers and get woken up by kids having accidents in the middle of the night. You don’t think about just what it is you’re doing, you just take care of the person.

I call it a familial love.

There is romantic love, for sure. And I love my homemade carnitas and salsa. But romantic love can be swayed by circumstance and reason. Love of food is always fleeting (who knew it’d run out?)

Familial love is always there. Because no matter what, you will care for that person you think of as family. I don’t care if I have to deal with unattractive medical issues, I will be there for my wife. My parents put up with countless acts of my adolescence and still they were willing to see me off on my adventures and hold me when life was awful. I have and shall again drop everything to take care of one of my pseudo-brothers is in trouble.

My parents have had that for over 30 years. Three entire decades of love and support no matter what life throws. I’m sure they’ve been through far more than I know about, which I’m also sure was their intention. They passed on those traits of quiet loyalty very directly to me.

I love my parents very much, and they deserve all the best in the world. I think they found it in each other. Strength to be apart and to stay together is an amazing thing. That utterly invisible, intangible bond is the most direct feeling of the divine that we humans can get.

That love my parents solidified thirty years ago, as wonderful as it was when it happened, has managed to grow immensely without losing any strength. It has gone this far,

And it’ll only keep going.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad.

We all wish you the very best.

PAHO, Part III…

[Continued from Yesterday.]
While getting the lad his first meal since swallowing a play penny, my cell phone buzzed in my pocket. It was my mum this time. She was calling to tell me she and my dad were on their way to bury my granddad’s remains. He died last fall and was cremated, it has just taken some time to coordinate everyone who was to attend the burial at the family plot near Lake Berryessa.

Mum just wanted to see if in the next couple of hours I wanted to have them say a little something on my behalf out there. Well, okay. I’ll do my best with a fussy baby in my arms and a penny in my boy’s stomach. I suppose the fussy baby part was my fault for testing our alarms.

Finally, finally, finally it was nap time. I was in the middle of feeding the lass, so the lad was on his own for getting settled in. When he’s on the ball, he’s amazingly self-sufficient. Thankfully, that was the case. He got himself into bed, read for a while, then turned off his light and laid down. For all the insane stuff he does, he can be truly amazing.

Fed and happy, the little lady was passed out in my arms. The time seemed as good as any to come up with what I wanted to say to Granddad. But rather than writing down something to have read, I decided to record my own message. Here is where cell phone technology can be a wonderful thing.

I recorded my voice to be played back at the appropriate time. I simply said that I was glad that he had a chance to meet his great-grandson and I hoped he knew his great-granddaughter was on the way. And I promised that my children will love riding the rails as I do, a trait that he passed to me and that I am proud to pass to his descendants.

Admittedly, it took me a few takes to get the recording right. I kept getting somewhat choked up, particularly since I was recording all this while holding his great-grandbaby in my arms. Eventually I got it to where I wanted and sent it to my mum. I knew she could handle it since we try to send her recordings of the lass when we can.

I was really surprised at how strongly the moment struck me. It had been some time since Granddad passed, so my mourning subsided. However, I think the idea of saying goodbye orally, but not there in person, made it tougher. These are the times that make it tough to live so far from my side of the family.

Having sent my message and my children napping, I felt it would be a good idea to eat something. I warmed up some tortillas and started snacking. The peace was nice. Just me in my kitchen.

My cell buzzed again. Bad plot device, anyone? The doctor’s office was calling to schedule an appointment. Apparently after checking over the boy’s information, the doctor wanted him to come in to talk to him and check him out directly. So I cut nap time short and loaded up the kids to the doctor’s office.

We were there maybe twenty minutes. I really like our pediatrician, and I did appreciate him wanting to see us anyway, knowing our son is prone to not showing as severe symptoms as other kids would. At least we weren’t waiting around forever and the chat with the doctor was good. He was just really heavily debating whether x-rays should be taken. The concern was nice, but we decided it was unnecessary. We were all pretty certain that it was just a plastic penny that would pass.

The remainder of the day was wonderfully uneventful. My mum called again to tell me that all went well and was lovely for Granddad’s interment. She said my message came out nicely and that most people heard it. I was glad to be a part of it in some small way.

After dinner, I went to my favorite liquor store to pick up some wine. I picked a 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Louis M Martini, properly grown in St Helena. I toasted to Granddad with my wife and a good glass of wine. Then I set to work on this huge post that, for the reader’s sake, I broke into three parts.

I made it through this short, yet incredibly thick muddle of my life. It sometimes amazes me that I do. Usually I am not very orderly or clean, and always feeling dangerously under-qualified for the position. And rarely, especially right now, do I have empty time enough to sit and ponder it all.

C’est la vie~

Brief Hiatus…

Things may be quiet around here for a bit.  I’ve got presentations and papers due in the next week, plus family coming in.  And frankly, the infrequency of us seeing any family outside of Minnesota means their presence trumps nearly everything else.  Hopefully I’ll be walking away from all of this semester’s nonsense cleanly and life will be easier.
Ta!

Toys in a Bookstore…

On Sunday evening, my family went out to our local big box bookstore (which, as much as I can’t stand box stores, I love books, and the latter wins) to spend a couple gift cards we had received for Christmas. To me, there is nothing better than browsing shelves of books. So many possibilities, so many things to learn, so very much to read, and so little time for it. It is a problem I love to have that should never disappear from the great majority of humanity.
But big stores, because of their nature of wanting to pull everyone in to buy more and more, have a problem. I do not know if it is of their creation, or a manifestation of greater cultural destruction. I do know that it bothers me to no end, and the longer I dealt with it the other night, the more apparently damaging it became.

The issue here is toys being in bookstores. I am sure I was no better as a child. But why not shoot for ideals in life? Basically, I seem to remember wanting to get stacks and stacks of books. That was the goal. There was (and is) nothing greater. This is a trait my wife possesses as well. We cannot get out of a bookstore with fewer than an armful of new reading material. And this is a trait we wish to impart on our son.

Continue reading

Overdue…

Well folks, with my first full year as Dad and host in the world has passed, it meant that I managed to neglect to actually send out our family’s holiday letter. So I will be posting it in its entirety here in lieu of doing it properly. Here’s hoping next year more things will be in order for us to pull it off in the right amount of time. Ta!

Happy Holidays, One and All!

This has been the first year of this Fryer family taking root in Andover, Minnesota. And as such, this then is our inaugural holiday letter.

Michelle began working at Target Headquarters in downtown Minneapolis this spring. It’s a great foot in the door with lots of room for advancement. She also takes the bus into the city, which certainly beats driving down there. How can driving compete with sitting and cruising past people frozen on the freeway, chatting with friends in the morning and afternoon, and being dropped off at the front doorstep?

I am on my second year as a technology paraprofessional (computer guy) at the same middle school I started in. I work extra after-school activities almost every day, and the best has got to be creating and maintaining the chess club for the school. It is a point of pride to be teaching one of the things I loved so dearly when I was in middle school and passing on the joy of playing thinking games and building friendships.

Along with working at a school, I have also begun my first semester of attending graduate school. At Hamline University, I am working toward a Master’s degree in teaching, and during the process will earn a license to become a full-time teacher in Social Studies. It is an exciting prospect to become a teacher; I can’t wait.

Austin has had a great year, and turned the big Four this October. He keeps getting brighter and funnier and more and more capable of doing things himself. And my goodness, he just cannot stop drinking in the world around him, especially certain topics. Ask him if he likes dinosaurs and you will surely get a complete lecture on the eating habits of the Euplocephalus and how they compare to those of the Corythasaurus. And yes, those are real dinosaurs.

October also marked the first year anniversary of purchasing our home. It is hard to believe we’ve lived there for a whole year. What is even more astounding is that the following month, Michelle and I celebrated our first anniversary, having been married on November 11th. Those milestones, along with acquiring a pair of cats, Tyrone and Puma, who insist on besting one another in tests of idiocy, have helped compose our lives as a family that began only a year ago.

The biggest bit of news to date, though, is that Michelle and I are expecting our second child. Just when one thinks our lives couldn’t be more fulfilling, the love grows more than expected. We cannot wait to meet the little one come April, and neither can Austin. He has got big brother written all over him already.

Until then, we will be looking at the world covered in beautiful white snow, thinking of all of you who we love so dear, and pondering the great future yet to come.

Happy Holidays,
Evan, Michelle, and Austin