Monday, May 3, 2010
My parents have been married for 41 years today. They have survived six children, miscarriages, death of a parent, job loss, cancer twice, many many moves, being in the service, financial issues, parenting issues, being caregivers to terminally ill in-laws, older children moving back in and then back out. They made it through all those big life changing milestones that you hear tears some marriages apart. But the main thing they made it through is the everyday. The everyday madness that raising a family with six kids is. They went to ballgames and plays and lost jobs and got jobs and watched their teenagers go crazy right before their eyes. They changed diapers and stayed up all night with sick kids and took turns rocking and singing. They worried and trusted and disciplined and joked and they loved each other through it all. I don't mean they have made it and are still together for the sake of being together. I mean that they have chosen everyday for 41 years to love. To love when they were too tired or felt crummy or were irritated or angry. To love when they had toddlers hanging off their legs and laundry that needed done. To love when there was no money and the car was broken and six little faces were looking up at them. They chose to love and they taught us to love and for that I am eternally grateful.
They have celebrated first steps and first communions and baptisms and birthdays and marriages and grandbabies and career successes and first baskets and first goals and first teeth lost and proms and theater productions and life. They have taught us unity and loyalty and laughter and love. They have taught us Jesus. They have taught us family. They have taught us to love those around us...ALL of those around us.
Growing up I never saw them fight. Not once. I saw them disagree, sure. They taught me it's okay to not see eye to eye all the time and you compromise and work at it and love anyway. I saw my dad walk up behind my momma cooking dinner and give her that behind the back hug. I watched him playfully pat her on the butt or dance with her in the middle of the kitchen just because he wanted too. I saw him being fully present in his children's lives and not leave it all to my mom. I watched my mom look at my dad when he was acting silly like he was the single greatest thing on earth. I watched my mom support him in his decisions and encourage and lift him up. I watched my mom not try to change him but love him as he is. I watched my momma hold his hand on his way into surgery for cancer. I saw my parents pray together and laugh together and dance together. I saw them kiss and hug and serve others. I saw them lead our family in the love of Christ and it is the single greatest gift I've ever been given.
They were the example to me, to my friends, to their friends. I am sure it hasn't always been easy to write that love letter I've seen them give to each other or to smile and joke your way through something difficult but that is what makes me so proud of them. I know it hasn't been easy. I know they chose love. I know they chose to honor God through their marriage. They honored their family and created a legacy for me to pass onto my own children. They did that. It makes me the richest woman in the world. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad. Thank you, thank you, thank you.