The Unexpected Present

Balancing Life’s Unremitting Checkbook

spider web

Yuri’s Quote of the Day: “You are balancing the unremitting checkbook of life. What are you planning to spend your life account on?”

On November 27th, Yuri and I celebrated thirteen years as a married couple. There was a full moon, aptly named the Frosty Moon, and the open fields were blanketed with a thin frost-designed lace-work similar to the snowflake designs we see on window panes. I looked into the meaning of Lace, the traditional Thirteenth Wedding anniversary gift, more deeply and with renewed curiosity about the quality and state of being closely connected to its interpretation.

Lace, an open weblike pattern, can become a delicate fabric made of yarn or thread and used for trimmings, household coverings, or entire garments. It has a similar outlook for how we assess our past years together. Its intricate web-like pattern and consistent detailing reflect the intertwining of our lives throughout the thirteen years of marriage. I found that the making and keeping of a marriage is as complex as a spider web spun. Integrating the same quality the spider brings to the corner called home takes strength and determination.

While spiderwebs represent balance and harmony in many folk tales and wise Elder views, spider silk strands are made of tightly aligned protein molecules. Highly flexible and extremely stretchable, they are five times stronger than steel of the same diameter–almost as strong as Kevlar, the toughest artificial polymer—even though each silk strand is thinner than a human hair. That kind of strength comes from the intertwining, integrating, and sharing our lives, including the trauma burdens. All ingredients make up a life and how we choose to live it.

According to About Education, some spiders add “decorations” within a web called stabilimenta. A stabilimentum may be a single zigzag line, a combination of lines, or a spiral twist in the web’s center. Some spiders weave stabilimenta into their webs, most notably orb weavers in the genus Argiope. There are four main parts of a web: the hub or center where the spider usually rests, the frame threads or borders of the web, the sticky spiral or insect-catching area, and the anchor points like the guideline attaching the web to some object — a branch, a room corner, a door frame – becoming the “hearth.” It moves from a soluble to a hardened form and is spun into fiber by the spinnerets on the spider’s abdomen, releasing a silk thread. Amazing.

But when the web is taken down, the spider usually gets the meaning that this may not be the right place for a home. I can understand that completely. Perhaps that’s why I became a weaver at one time. I understood the complexities of pattern and design, the time it takes to set up the warp before weaving up the weft, and if there’s missed heddle threading or a thread break on the loom, you need to take a step back and make the correction or overcome the setback with a short break, a cup of tea, a glass of wine or a cat nap with a napping expert.

Yuri and I reminisced about overcoming many obstacles, like when we had 72 hours to get the marriage license because of furlough closings and couldn’t find a witness until a long-time friend came to the rescue. The night before, we stayed up until 2 a.m. writing our names on the maracas that were a hit with our guests and waiting until my nephew returned from going home with our car keys in his pocket. Many friends who came to celebrate are no longer with us, but we are reminded of their love and happiness in sharing our wedding day.

Just as the other 13th Anniversary highlights our Baker’s Dozen years of marriage, the Chrysanthemum flower symbolizes devoted love, happiness, and longevity, and the Ctrine gemstone represents intricate beauty and requires special care, as does any union. This stone invites success, abundance, and prosperity. It treats physical and mental ailments, bringing joy and enthusiasm. Citrine is considered by most to be the gemstone of protection. It is the center of personal identity, willpower, and self-esteem. Wearing a beautiful Citrine crystal bracelet will attract good fortune and success. I must remember to wear it.

Yet despite the recent difficulties, we remain convinced that our road to recovery may not be on a map often thrust at us by conventional medicine knowledge. We take a direction where we must make our way through the dark times and make our home that will become our hearth and heart. After all, Yuri promised me twenty-five years, and I will hold him to that promise. That may seem far-fetched, but longevity is in our future despite the impediments. It may seem lonely at times, yet we are not alone. We are thankful for all the love, good wishes, thoughts, prayers, songs, letters, notes, and those good vibrations we keep getting. Stay the course. Keep the faith.

Xrystia + Yuri Anniversary

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