To Cathy on her 70th Birthday

Todd And His Bride

  • With love from Maida

“Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken.” –
  Sonnet 116 – Shakespeare

I watched my brother fall in love. 

My older brother Todd was always good.   I can’t remember him ever being bad or doing something selfish or mean.  My Mom used to call him her rock, and though this made me feel badly in my self-absorbed youth because I wanted to be her rock, I realize (and think I knew a long time ago) that I’m not a rock.  I’m not even gravel.  I’m more like moving sand or storm water or a rushing river or a slow land-slide or possibly a twiggy forest bed that is slippery and uncertain unless careful.  I was not, as a young girl, dependable in my reactions to life around me.  I plunged ahead with action, thinking about the consequences later.  Todd was dependable and worthy and honest and possessed a sense of humor that broadcast into story-telling wit.  It was later in childhood when Todd blossomed and ultimately became a young man of quiet courage and confidence.   He is still all of those things and tall and good looking to boot. 

I didn’t occur to me and my other younger siblings to think of Todd in love or even in like.  He didn’t date that we knew of and mostly he did things first.  Went to school first, played sports first, had neighborhood friends first, drove first, stayed out late first, went to college first.  But he didn’t date first.  It seems that my sister Jenny and I beat him to the dating frontier with varied outcomes.  Todd waited like a rock patient and steadfast, until finally dislodged from his place of rest when he saw a tall, lithe, long-haired beauty in one of his classes at Wheaton College.  He knew what to do.  For the next nearly two years he didn’t speak to her.  Too risky. 

Much like the engineer whose job is to inspect the bridge that joins two cities and discovers a tiny crack that will ultimately result in a cataclysmic event, we could feel the ground shift when Todd finally asked Cathy to attend a sports banquet as his date.  This alone was a noteworthy event in our family.  It was not until the summer between Todd’s sophomore and junior year that I met Cathy – which is ultimately the time (from my vantage point) that my older brother began to form a life outside of our immediate family.  Friends were different and were transient – here one day and gone the next while the permanence of Cathy was palpable in Todd’s lives and therefore in ours.  It is important to mention that we are a loud family.  Todd is probably the quietest of us all and he is not particularly quiet.  He can burst forth into song and easily recites Gilbert and Sullivan with gusto, but I am sure he held this in check while courting.  It did show itself splendid on their honeymoon when taken to task by a phone call telling the “king of the forest” to pipe down – Todd in the middle of a worthy rendition from the Wizard of Oz.  I am sure the blasting forth of opinions with multiple conversations going on at the same time – crowded conversations, jump in and join conversations, raucous conversations, was overwhelming to Cathy, but we watched Todd embrace this beautiful young woman of quietness and poise and so we fell in love with her too.  The weeks became months became a few short years and marriage and babies and grand-babies and here we are.  My brother still in love with a girl from Spanish class that he was too shy to speak to until he must.  My brother got his gal and Cathy got her man – and I cannot imagine this story any other way.  You are for him and he is for you.  God did this and He just keeps on doing it. 

Happy birthday Cathy – love ever and always – Maida

7 Responses to “To Cathy on her 70th Birthday

  • Wendy Larson
    1 year ago

    Oh, Aunt Maida, this made me cry. So beautiful about the people I love. Gorgeously written. Thank you.

  • Janette Clay
    1 year ago

    Just perfect Maida. You are a treasure, just like Cath. Love you.

  • Love this!

  • Thank you for writing and sharing this, Maida! I loved the insight into Todd’s childhood and “his place” (of very apparent honor and reverence!) in your family; and although I have been acquainted with him 21 years less than you and your family, your description makes me feel like I’ve known him all his life! Perhaps that’s because Todd is Todd and will always be––that “rock of a man!”
    So many memories flooded into my mind as I reflected on the past 48(!!!) years that he has been married to my sister to this date, June 15, 2022. . . At the top of my list is the Sunday in June of 1978, when I was spending that summer residing in Warrenville with my sister and him (my brother-in-love of then 4 years) and their 7-month-old twin baby daughters, Todd announced, “We’ll be playing doubles tennis this afternoon.” I queried at that pronouncement. “Doubles? You and Cath versus whom?” His answer changed the course of the rest of my life! And for that I am most thankful to and for Todd AND Cath❣️ 🤗

  • Jackie Larson
    1 year ago

    Wow Maida, I was blessed by your birthday message to Cathy!!

  • Thank you, Maida!

  • I always enjoy your writing, Maida. xoVic

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