To My Parents, On Their 49th Anniversary

Today, June 12th, 2014, you celebrate your 49th wedding anniversary.

I googled traditional wedding gifts and found nothing. It seems that when you get to 49, all eyes focus on the next one, thus dulling the achievement of 49 and treating 50 as if it were a foregone conclusion. So I started thinking, what can I get you that will be meaningful, worthy of 49 years ~ roughly 17,885 days, 429,240 hours, 25,744,400 minutes, 1,545,264,000 seconds ~ roughly, if I did my math right, which I very well may not have ~ but still remain affordable? What indeed??? You just went on vacation. You have more than enough dishes. You have 14,000 sets of mostly complete silver, some of which you can’t really account for your possession of, that you never use. Any knick-knack or tchotchke will be received lovingly, but ultimately viewed simply as something to dust or that tipped over and broke when you ran the vacuum into the table it was sitting on.

So today, I give you my thanks. I know it sounds cheap, but hear me out. As I get older, and as I steep further and further in my own marriage, I find myself more and more thankful to you for showing me what a marriage is. And, perhaps more importantly, what it isn’t. You taught me, I suspect inadvertently, what it is to be in an intimate relationship for the long haul. That there is no such thing as perfect. That it is simply impossible to be so close to another human being without hurt, challenge, without some pain. You taught me that successful marriage is work. A lot of work. And you taught me that it is all worth it. You taught me that love is worth the fight and the occasional struggle. And sometimes the more than occasional struggle. You taught me that the tests can bring us closer, if we let them.

I sit here, crying as I type, because just a few weeks shy of my own 14th anniversary (paltry in comparison!), I’m overwhelmed with love for my husband, in a way that I wasn’t when we met, in a way that I wasn’t even a year ago. Or maybe even yesterday. In a way that I truly could not have imagined. And I look forward to what we will be in a year ~ 10 ~ 20. We’ve been through some stuff. I have no doubt that we will go through more. I have no doubt that we will continue to laugh and cry with one another, grow with one another, annoy one another, occasionally butt heads with one another, and hopefully, far less occasionally, hurt one another. Because of you, I know what all of that is. I expect it. I recognize it as part of the package. I know how to deal with it.

I always wanted to get married ~ to be married. Because I always wanted what you have. Turns out, I don’t. I don’t have what you have. I can’t. Only you can have that. But I have patterned my marriage after yours. The most central relationship in my life is built on the foundation that you taught me to build. There were no sit-down chats, no lectures. There was just you being you, in your marriage. Imperfect, loving, challenging, passionate and spectacularly beautiful. This lesson was simply experienced, witnessed. Witnessing your love, I learned how to love my husband. I thank you for teaching me how to love my husband. That is the greatest lesson of my life.

So today, June 12th, on your 49th wedding anniversary, I give you the gift of my thanks. Perhaps it’s not much, but when I look at Rick, it is everything.


Posted on Jun 12, 2014 by Ian In: All, Inside Voice
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