Married at 14

I just learned that my great, great grandmother, Gedske Henrie (née Schow), became her husband’s third polygamous wife when she was just 14. He was 51.

By all accounts it was a good marriage, but Mormon polygamy was never easy. Born into frontier Utah, what choices did she have? Did she marry him enthusiastically? Does that mean anything when you’re only 14?

When I was her age, I was still trying, rather unsuccessfully, to navigate the waters of adolescence. I was awkward and I had so much more to learn.

I can’t help but wonder what turmoil she kept to herself and didn’t hand down to us in our family histories.

Edit: I’ve since learned that, on the plus side, their first child was born when she was 20. I also just read an account of reading the journal of a girl whom Joseph Smith propositioned to be his secret wife. ?

Havamal 76

Cattle die, kindred die,
You yourself shall die,
But one thing I know
Shall never die:
The life-deeds of the foregone dead.
(my own reinterpretation of Havamal 76)

Madonna Lactans

This year I made ornaments depicting Mary nursing her son. I glued printouts of the paintings to sections sawn from the trunk of a previous year’s Christmas tree. I find the relationship between mother and child to be the most inspiring and sacred part of the Christmas story.