Today my sister posted one of my favorite pictures of my parents. The only one that rivals this in my mind is another picture we have of them from their dating days. They’re sitting on my grandma’s back porch (the scene of many happy family memories growing up), with my dad in awesome plaid pants and my mom -gasp- sitting on his lap.
This is going to look like an attempt to not be the black sheep, aka the only blogging sibling that didn’t blog about my parents’ anniversary! But if that’s what blogging at the end of the day means, so be it.
My brother was right — my sister’s blog post about my parents is beautifully spot-on. I’m not going to try to reiterate what she said. We’re all in agreement —
“My mom and dad taught us more about marriage in the nitty gritty monotony of every day life than all the self-help books and all the marriage counselors in the world could have done. And they still do.”
This morning at church I had to do a little math in my head. Is it possible that this was really their 38th anniversary? Not remembering what year they got married, I counted back to 1998, that life-changing year for our family — a year that saw the birth of the first grandchild and the entrance of dear Jen into the convent. We celebrated Jen’s entrance and my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary with a huge outdoor party (my sister-in-law celebrating it indoors, as she was very preggo and it was very hot).
It was hard to wrap my mind around the fact that thirteen years had passed since that celebration. But then you see pictures like this, and reality sinks in:
Life has really changed. Thirteen years later, Mom and Dad are empty-nesters, have seven grandchildren, and have put more miles on their van than some semi-drivers. When they said “I do” 38 years ago, they could never have imagined what life held for them.
Tonight I found this prayer that they prayed that day 38 years ago. (At least I’m assuming they prayed it. I wasn’t there. But it is mimeographed as part of their program, so I think my assumption is valid)
Father, we ask your blessings.
I ask from you the assistance I need to be a good husband and father. Never let me take Judy for granted or forget she needs to be loved. If you bless us with children, I promise to love them, to care for them, to give them the best possible example.
I ask from you the assistance to be a good wife and mother. May I never forget how important Jim’s work is for his happiness or fail to give him encouragement. If you bless me with motherhood, I promise to give myself totally to my family, even to the point of stepping aside when they must walk alone.
We ask that you stay by our side in the days ahead. Protect us from anything which might harm this marriage. Give us courage when burdens come our way; teach us to forgive one another when we fail. We ask, finally, that in our old age we may love each other as deeply and cherish each other as much as we do this very moment. May you grant these wishes which we offer through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
I sort of chuckled at what might be Dad’s reaction now to that phrase “Jim’s work is for his happiness” … and I smiled at the phrase “even to the point of stepping aside when they must walk alone” — which has to be one of the hardest things for a mother to do. But everything about this prayer (despite its 1970s wording) has been answered.
And for that, my siblings and I are eternally grateful.
Ah, marriage. A good friend told me a few years ago that I haven’t gotten married yet because I haven’t met someone as good as my father.
There’s a lot of truth to that.
And I’m okay with it.