Today, my parents will celebrate 50 years of marriage. Incredible. I am guessing that they will mark this milestone with as much fanfare as they greet almost any event, with happy acknowledgement, maybe a light kiss or a friendly pat on the bum “Oh Ken!” – but, it will all be done without much of a to-do.
They are happy to be with each other and that is enough for them. I have wished at different times in my childhood that there was more fanfare, more pomp and circumstance, more everything – I like things big and bold and have a more the merrier way of thinking about things. Not them, they like to go out, they love to entertain, but most of all – they really enjoy each other’s company.
Life hasn’t been perfect for them or the family they built, in fact sometimes, it has been cruel to them. But I suppose that’s to be expected when you consider that we are talking about a span of 50 years. Through everything, all the ups and downs and the unexpected curve balls, I think they endured because they laugh at themselves and each other very easily.
As a kid I can remember my father walking through the house singing the words “you remind me of your mother” and then I would hear my mother laugh. Turns out she had done something to irritate him, likely a small thing, but he sang out his silly song and she laughed. And then it was over. When my mother was irritated with my father I never heard her do anything more than say something like – “you just think you’re a big whoop, Ken!” or some other nonsense word she made up and then he’d laugh. And then it was over. They might get in each other’s craws – they just didn’t stay there. They moved on.
Here’s the other thing. My mother and father rarely when out for dinner when I was little. We had no extra money so it was a big deal when they did. They didn’t dine out at restaurants, they went to friends’ houses or they entertained at our house. But, since it was a big deal to go out, and since it was the 70’s, they got dressed-up. And, without fail, every morning after their big night out, as we gathered around the breakfast table, my dad would say to us, “Your Mom was the prettiest girl at the party.” I loved hearing him say this because I thought my Mom was so beautiful. What I didn’t realize was how special it was that my Dad would say that to us – that he would tell us on those Sunday mornings just how special our mom was to him. He said she was the prettiest but there was a lot more emotion in those words.
There was so much love.
Happy 50th Anniversary Mom & Dad. Thank you for showing me how to spend my 10,000 days, to laugh at myself, to let things go (I will work on that one some more), to enjoy the company of the people I love and to tell people how I feel. I love you.