Having and Holding

It’s a golden day. Fifty years ago, my parents said, I do, and have been doing ever since.

Staying married to the same partner for fifty years is a pretty big deal. My mom will chime in that her parents celebrate seventy-two years at the end of the month. In May we celebrated my in-laws’ sixtieth.

That’s a lot of collective marital years.

But today is the day for Nick and Caryn and their decision to make a commitment and stay the course. Together. Fifty years ago.

Earlier this year they took a celebratory trip. The pictures are delightful. Sun and fun and horseback riding along with amazing food dishes testify to a time well-spent together.

There’s nothing quite like the actual day, though.

I texted congratulations to my parents this morning. They were on their daily ritual walk to a downtown coffee shop. It was all low-key and routine. Settled.

That is what I love about these days. They have settled in a good way with each other. I have settled in a good way with them. This may just be the best year I can remember, and I have been told I remember too much.

This year I see more clearly the young college students taking vows. The 20 year old woman and 21 year old man are not enigmatic figments of my imagination but real people with real struggles hoping for the best.

Just shy of two years later, they are handed a newborn daughter with the parting words, Good luck!

Fifty years is so long, and it is not long enough.

I type those words, and tears fill my eyes. I pause to listen to what they tell me, and my shoulders shake with sobs.

Fifty years has given them time to bear seven children, see them marry and grow children of their own.

It has given them a great-grandchild.

It has brought tragedy and loss.

t has brought joy and gain.

It has given me time to grow to be curious, to question, to engage.

It has given them time to grow to be responsive, to answer, to engage.

This fifty year celebration is all about them, and it’s not all about them.

It is about the lives that have come through them. The love that they share. The fierce fighting forward to step into more truth.

That is what brings my tears.

It is the realization of this precious gift that I have been given, that we have been given. This golden light of relationship and love.

This is a picture from my son’s wedding last year. It is by no means representative of everyone in the family. Twelve people are missing (at least!), but it gives you an idea of what 50 years can produce. Quite a harvest.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad! May you feel just how loved you are today and every day.

More and more.

Thanks for heart-composting with me! I appreciate your words.

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