Commentaries posted do not necessarily represent the opinion of LDN.
 Any opinions expressed are those of the writers.

The things that matter          Send a link to a friend

By Debbie Thurman

[JUNE 17, 2006]  June 5 this year was a red-letter day. My husband turned 60. Yep, Russ is one of those infamous baby boomers who hit that milestone this year.

Interestingly, Russ turned 18 and was about to graduate from high school on the day my baby brother (at the other end of the boomer generation) was born in 1964. I was 10 at the time. How could I have known that a winsome young dairy farmer 2000 miles away was destined to become the love of my life and father of our two amazing daughters? I was still playing girlish games of make-believe, one of which was dreaming about the man I would marry someday.

Russ, by then, was preparing to follow his dream of enlisting in the Marine Corps. He passed up an FFA college scholarship -- he could have studied animal husbandry at New Mexico State -- to pursue a military life. And while I was agonizing through early adolescence, he was surviving the hell of back-to-back tours in Vietnam.

The eight years of difference between our ages became less significant when I was 24. In 1978, I reported for my first Marine assignment to Camp Lejeune, N.C., where a lean, battle-hardened and oh-so-good-looking-in-dress-blues Russ Thurman became my mentor in the storied public affairs and combat correspondence field.

Now, the younger of our daughters has just graduated from high school. I don't remember being so teary at her older sister's graduation. Our firstborn also just happened to choose this week to move out of our "nest" and into her own apartment. As if I werenąt enough of a mess, she and the young man she has been dating for more than a year (he's in law school in another town) are now talking marriage. Have they no mercy on a mother's heartstrings?

Get the picture? This is a week of bittersweet events and heart-warming memories, designed to drive a wife and mother to quiet, tearful contemplation of a life that has been strung together on the thinnest and most blessed of threads.

To write here of all those threads would require too much ink and invade too much of our privacy. That's partly why I wrote my first book in 2000. Google or check if you're interested. Suffice it to say that our lives have been peppered with both heartbreaking and truly miraculous events.

[to top of second column]

There was no real party to mark the passing of this momentous occasion for Russ. He never wants a fuss. That doesn't mean we are in denial about the significance of growing older, however. When we look around us, we see how fleeting both life and health can be. We still have both, and we are grateful. One day at a time.

Russ asked for one specific "gift" for his birthday, and he received it -- along with a few other amusing tokens he didn't ask for, from his brothers and sisters. He wanted only to have a day of complete relaxation with our immediate family, which now includes our apparent future son-in-law. We spent half that day on our bucolic, 5-acre homestead, where we delighted in little things, like watching a pair of bluebirds nesting, and the rest at a peaceful riverside park off Virginia's lower Blue Ridge Parkway. It was about as perfect a day as we ever recall having. Yes, a gift.

We are well aware of being the recipients of another hard-earned, precious gift: wisdom. There are things in our mutual and respective pasts we'd just as soon forget. But they are there for a reason. We learned to grow up and mostly to make peace with it all.

We are now entitled to share our life stories, for better or worse, with our daughters and their older step-siblings. We can't hide the bad stuff. We hope they can see for themselves the good. We know they have learned and will learn some lessons on their own. That's the way it works.

And they know we will consider every future birthday a gift from God -- "'til death do us part." That's also the way it should be.

[Debbie Thurman]

Click here to respond to the editor about this article.

< Recent commentaries

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor