Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Forty Years and Counting

Hi.  I am back.  I can't say I'm very happy about being back since we had one of the best, most awesomest times ever.  Coming back from vacation just plain sucks.  It was so nice to not to have to cook and clean at all, and even not to have to take care of my kids for half the time.  The waiters even CUT UP THEIR FOOD!  When I was with them, it was all fun times. It was so great to hang out with my sisters and let all the cousins play together for 8 days.  There are so many stories that I want to tell you including getting to cross "swimming with the dolphins" off my bucket list.  However, before I go in to all the fun we had, I feel like I should honor my parents since they are the reason that my family got to go on this once in a lifetime trip.

For the past year my sisters and I have worked on a scrapbook of sorts to give  them on this trip.  Beth and I contacted all of their family and friends from their 40 years together.  We asked them to do a page for their book.  Some people wrote, some sent pictures, some did a full scrap book themselves. Megan put the book together and we presented it to them on the boat on their anniversary last Sunday the 23rd.  Needless to say, they loved it.  Since I've talked about my girls on their birthdays and more or less written them letters, I thought I would share with all of you what I wrote to my parents in their book.  It was accompanied by pictures, but for now I will just share the words.  I think it is amazing that my parents have been together for so long and they are no doubt an inspiration to my sisters and me as we navigate through the smooth sailing and rocky waters of our own marriages.  (Like my boat metaphor?)  I thank them so much for the wonderful time they gave us this past week and all the great memories they helped us all to make with our own families.  I really do hope that someday I can do the same for my own girls.

The letter:

Dear Mom and Dad,

Happy 40th Anniversary!  

First of all, I know these things are usually more personable if one writes them in one’s own handwriting, but how glad are you that I didn’t do that?  I mean my terrible hybrid handwriting of the both of you was never the best, and you want to be able to go back in twenty years and read this again.  Your 80 something year old eyes will do better reading computer font, and thank me.  

I remember seven years ago when Sonya was just a baby and you came out for a summer visit.  We went to a water park and were floating around a lazy river, when you told me of your plan to take the entire family, however many that may be, on a Disney Cruise for your 40th Anniversary.  The only thing I could think of at that time was-”Damn that is so far away!  And thank God, because it just means that I will be 39 and that is so OLD!”
Time-it goes so fast.  Way to fast, really.  Still, here we are seven years, eight grandchildren and me, 39 plus, later.  

Can we talk about the me being 39 while your Anniversary is 40?  You couldn’t have been married a couple years just so I didn’t have to feel like I was knocking on the door to “over the hill” while celebrating your big anniversary? Thanks so much for that.  It’s always gotta be about you two!  Okay, I guess in some ways it’s actually kind of nice, since I always know what Anniversary you are celebrating because of my age.  I also  feel like I have been there since the beginning of your marriage adventure.  Perhaps not RIGHT at the beginning, but pretty damn close.  Unless you’ve lied to me about what month I was born....then I have MANY more questions.  

Yes, I’ve been there for all 40 years.  No, I don’t remember the first four and I left home 20 years ago, but I have seen the heart of your time together and know how much you both love and care for one another.  And you also sometimes annoy and anger each other.  Also important lessons to see, but more important is seeing how you work through things together.  Whether it was Daddy being away from home for a long period of time, dealing with us as teenage girls, or living with an empty nest, you’ve been through it all, and I’ve been taking mental notes.  In this time where it seems everyone gets divorced at the first sign of trouble, it’s great to see an example of a couple who still work through their differences and love each other more.  It’s even better when that example is your parents.  

We may not always agree or see eye to eye with the way to live our lives.  However, I can agree that together you always provided a loving, caring, safe environment of family where I (and I’m sure my sisters) always felt like we belonged.  Just recently I was in a parenting class where they talked about the importance of making sure your children feel like they are a part of your family.   A feeling of belonging.  Something so important that if you don’t do it, kids will go look for it somewhere else.  Someplace else that can get them into trouble, like a cult.  You both did a great job of providing us with that feeling of belonging, which is good for me because I don’t think I would have done well as a Scientologist.  Look at what happened to poor Katie Holmes.  

In all seriousness though, in your 40 years together, you created a home that even though was not ever in the same place, always had the same feeling. One of caring, love, and happiness.  (Well, except maybe between the ages of 14-17, but that’s more on me, or perhaps my hormones.  I shudder at what lies ahead of Andy and me). You two are the reason I wanted to get married and have children of my own.  I only ever wanted to be and provide what I had seen in you.  I hope you know how much you both mean to me and how much I love you and if you don’t, I’m telling you now.  

Thank you for all you have done for us in your years together.   Thank you for this awesome cruise.  Thank you for “doing it” only THREE TIMES and having us.  Thank you for loving us all, all of the time.  But mostly, thank you for loving each other the way you have and giving us all something to strive for.  I hope that Andy and I can do the same for our family in 29 years.  Then we can pay for you to come along and celebrate your 70 years together.   

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