Saturday, May 25, 2013

Momma Sheri's letter

 Mom wrote this 4 years ago in celebration of her and Dad's 50th Anniversary- June 9, 1959

Dearest children,
50 years is a very long time to you, but to us it was just last year we were married and you were all home with us.  I want to share with you a few memories…..but first I want to speak to you about your father.

Being the very peaceful man he is, he likes to go through life almost as a shadow….always doing good things but never making enough noise about it so anyone would ever know.  I want to share with you my thoughts on what a wonderful husband, Father and companion he has been……and I will speak with no particular order in mind.

Although it may not seem so….we have always been perfectly yoked.  To look at us one night not think this is the case…..but it is. Each carrying the loads we could do best.  Together we have moved not only ourselves forward but also our family.  There have been times when one or the other might be involved is unequal. Pulling.  When your Dad was in the bishopric, and especially when he was Bishop, I was pulling harder on the family line….when I was involved getting my degree, your Dad carried the family load.  Even though it seems impossible….Together we took turns.

Your Father has always had a strong testimony of the Gospel and the church,,,, and yes they are two separate things.  I never had to worry ‘if we were all going to church….  It was a given.  I never had to worry about him falling away…..he has always had the simple faith necessary to do what is right..  He knows the scriptures….he knows his Savior and he knows Heavenly Father.  He is a man of prayer….Remember the story about our wedding night?  We knelt down and had a prayer.  Before the prayer he told me that we were two just starting our family and in 20 or so years we would be just two again and our job was to still be in love so we could be together forever.  We have had prayer every night since then when we have been together.

Your Father has always been a ‘doer.’  He is always doing things for people.  He is always looking for things to do that would be helpful to others…..right down to how he drives a car.  Me, I would just keep on going, I would not let that car in front of me…it could  or would take my parking place, but your father would let them in saying,  “There is always another place to park.”   He is doing all sorts of things…He is doing temple work,  He is doing yard work.  He is constantly doing things for others.  He is doing his mission work.,  He does his best to make this world …well at least his neighborhood, a better place.

Your Father is a lifter.  He is the ward welcoming committee of one. A stranger coming to our meetings would think he was the bishop the way he talks to everyone and shakes hands and hugs those who need a  hug.  He is one of the kindest people I know.  He always has a kind word for others.  When I would come home mad as heck about someone who I thought had done or said something stupid and wrong…Your Dad would always take their side and try to make me see that maybe it wasn’t what I thought it to be.  I would be so mad that he didn’t take my side of things…..little did I realize he was taking my side by trying to get me to be a bit more patient and benevolent.

Your Father has great integrity!   If you were to ask someone to describe him, they would say he is always upbeat, kind and has great integrity.  One day, years ago when He was in the middle of being the best real estate man in town, a knock came to our back door.  I answered.  There stood a stranger.  He asked if this was the home of Lyle Cole.  I said yes it was.  He then told us that he was from out of state, and that he was being transferred to Utah and people told him to make sure he lived in Bountiful.  He said he arrived here and started asking around as to who they would recommend to work with in buying a house.  He said that, to the person, everyone he talked with told him to use Lyle Cole because his word was his bond. They said he was honest, had great integrity, and would make sure everything was alright.  What a wonderful reputation to have.  Your Father has always been like that.

I know that growing up “Cole” has sometimes been a bit tricky.  Every one knows your Father and what he stands for.  Consequently, it was hard to do something wrong because people wouldn’t let that happen…..”Lyle Cole’s kid?  I trust you cause I know your dad.”   You couldn’t go anywhere in this town without people knowing who you were and who raised you.  And it still goes on.  Right?

Your Father can do anything he puts his mind to do.  When we were busy doing all of the Color Code pilot testing….he realized he had not one drop of yellow in him.  This concerned him.  So he decided to change that.  He decided  to lighten up….to have more fun… bring more joy into others lives.  This was truly what Color Code was all about….Change for the better.  I can tell you … your Father is a hoot.  He has developed a sense of humor that is delightful. He makes me laugh. He is quick on the up take.  He finds the fun in everyday,  He may not be the perfect example of the time management/ clean desk era….but he is a sterling graduate of the color code era.

Living with your father for the past  fifty years is like taking a journey on a long road…..sometimes the road has been smooth sailing….sometimes there have been pot holes to avoid and sometimes we didn’t or couldn’t avoid them.  Sometimes the road was twisting and bumpy causing us to slow down….at times we could go freeway speed and even break the speed limit.  Some times we got “pulled over” so to speak as things we were doing needed to be reigned in a bit. The journey may be fifty years old, and the road conditions may have changed a bit over the years, but  oh what a ride!

I never have doubted Lyle loved me…..There were times he would roll his eyes and shake his head…but he loved me.  I always knew he would defend me.  I am glad I never had to put him to the test……well, if I did, he was kind enough not to let me know it..  He has supported me in everything I have ever done….even in the early years when he was still getting used to me.  He understands now, but back then he would just tolerate everything.  I would do things for ‘free’ ….Lyle would moan because in his world growing up, every one had to work for every penny they could get so they  could pay bills.  One always worked for a wage…..and here I was giving away my time.

Our life together was made complete by the arrival of our children,  Each one a very unique personality.  Each one bring their own piece to the puzzle known as the Cole Family.  When all of you were still home, we tried to build memories with you as a family.  When we got our first boat…we didn’t go out and buy it….it was part of a commission in a real estate deal.  We had a boat.  We didn’t know we even wanted one…but we had one.  So we proceeded to build memories.  I can still see you Dad standing waist deep in the  cold water at Bear Lake and Pine View helping you all try to get up on water skis.  It would probably have helped if the driver had not been me…but somehow you learned how.  We did family night trips to Anderson Cove returning after ten in the evening…hoping these things would bring us closer together as a family.  Spending every summer Holiday at the pool was another good thing.  We were there because we didn’t have the money to take you to Lagoon or to the city park celebration.  I remember  the day you found out about the celebration in the park….you were all so surprised.  You thought it was the first year it was done.  Not.  By then, you all loved the pool so much who cared about a celebration.

As parents we were always in a learning curve.  Marcie was raised by two adult  parents who were going the raise the ‘perfect child’.  We soon found out that raising a well adjusted happy child was far more important since there  is no such thing as the perfect anything. Marcie was taken out of church meetings not because she was crying….it was because she was way too happy talking and laughing. This was a bit confusing to her parents.

 On the other hand, Angela was raised by a houseful of adults…people older than she was.  She has a very adult vocabulary by two.   She was the bottom of the pecking order.  The only option she had was to harass the cat and the dog.  Yes we did try cat and dog back them. It was before we realized she was very allergic to them.    It is amazing she survived.

Teaching Elizabeth how to be a good sport became a family project.  Remember the trip When we had played a baseball game, and Liz didn’t like the way it turned out….nothing was fair in her mind and she was being a pretty good example of a bad sport whining all of the way home. Your Dad suddenly pulled the car over ….demanded that we all get out.  He then took out all of the ball equipment and we right then and there played another game so she could better understand how to take turns playing different positions, how to take turns at bat….how to take turns period. 

We took Adam through little league games much to his chagrin.  He was a good sport as his very athletic based father tried to introduce him to the joys of playing sports.  Adam was very patient with us….right up  to the point where we realized he would grow up into a fine man even if he didn’t play every sport.  Adam was the only kid we knew of who dressed for every game of little league football….and then played the game on the field as a spectator.  He wasn’t about to hit someone ..”What if I hurt them?”  He would line up and then stand up and watch as the play progressed.  He played football one year.  It was easier that way. 

Raising Melinda was an experience ..period.  First of all, we had to keep Marcie from patting her lead….often too hard….because she so loved her new baby. They were only fifteen months apart.  What were we thinking?  Heavenly Father wanted them to be like twins and they were.  What one didn’t think of the other one did.
She was born happy.  She could cry and laugh all at the same time…..still does…it is a very good thing.

We remember your first days of Kindergarten, as well as the day you graduated.  We remember tooth pulling experiences and well as your late night dating experiences.  We remember your first stage performances as well as our family stage experiences.  We remember when you moved out and in some cases when  you moved back in.  We remember your food preferences and your school experiences. We remember the wonderful Bear Lake  vacations that still bring us great joy.  We remember the joy of becoming grandparents.  We remember the joy of watching our grandchildren grow.  We remember their stage performances as well as other kind of accomplishments.

 We remember….it is the stuff of old age.

We love that we are all living so close.  It is our family that is the substance of our fifty years.   You are the meaning of life.  Yes, in the beginning we are just two, and as you father told me would happen, we are two again.….but the things that made our life together were contributed by you.  You are our life.  We love you.  We love living by you.  We love being on your lives.  We love it when you take time to visit with us.  We love it that you care.

What we love most is how the tide has turned… You were once Lyle Cole’s kid…..but now our greatest joy is being called  …” Oh, you are so and so’s parents”  Or even better…”your so and so’s grandparents”   We love that we are now known as belonging to you.  It is one part of the cycle of life that is awesome.

We want to thank you for being who you are.  Thank you for being strong in this crazy world. There will be  rough days  coming that  your testimony will be tested.  There will be times when you conversion to the church will be tested.  ( Remember these are two separate conversions… to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the second a conversion to the church of Jesus Christ)

We want you to remember always that your parents and grandparents have a strong testimony of both.  We have a strong testimony of the family.  This  was why the earth was created……to come down in families and learn and grow in righteousness. It is our work and our glory to help Heavenly Father with this purpose. 

We must remember to love each other.  To always be forgiving.  To always buoy each other up. 

We must remember the first commandment which is to love the Lord our God with all our heart might mind and strength.  And the Second is like unto it….to love one another even as I have loved you.  Heavenly Father and Jesus love unconditionally …. and so should we.

We love you all………you are indeed  what makes life work…..Hummmmmm  maybe there is something  to Heavenly Fathers plan after all.  He just knew we would need one another.  Family isn’t it awesome?


gma vh said...

Melinda. My friend. Thank you for sharing this. Your moms words are beautiful.

Tara said...

Love this! You are lucky to have such awesome parents. I am going to miss your mom.

Teri said...

What a blessing to have this to hang onto! Thanks for sharing it with us.

S Foster said...

What a treasure. You are so blessed to have this in writing! Thanks for sharing with us.