Today is my mother and father-in-law’s 50th wedding anniversary. Fifty years is a very long time. I should know because that’s how long my very own bones have been on this planet learning to walk, and run, falling down, then starting again. Relentlessly.
A marriage lasting fifty years is more something to read about in the section of the newspaper that also records births and deaths, engagements and graduations than it is something people I know have accomplished. Sure, my grandparents were married fifty years, but it took my mother’s mother three tries to get it right, and at that point, I think maybe she was just tired.
When I think of my mother and father-in-law, they’re rarely considered separately. They go together like a nicely wrapped present, and if you’d told me years ago that they would matter to me as much as they now do, I would have had trouble believing you. But they matter quite a bit.
Maybe it’s because of their unwavering support — their interest, their enthusiasm, their curiosity, energy, patience, graciousness…uncomplicated kindness.
I’ve known them for nearly half the time they’ve been married, which is an interesting perspective now that I think of it. And in that time, we’ve shared quite a lot: Thursday night pizza and wine — lots and lots of wine; annual dinners out to celebrate our anniversaries and birthdays all in one big night; old jobs and new jobs; trips and family holidays; mint juleps and phone calls from the Kentucky Derby. It may not sound like anything out of the ordinary to others, but I’m smiling as I think about it all.
I think about my father-in-law’s quiet, positive outlook, and my mother-in-law’s plans of places to go and things to see. I think about what caring grandparents they are, and how good they are at making sure everyone knows that he or she is thought of in a special way.
I guess thinking about all of this today has made me realize that outside of a few stories about how they met, and where they lived, I don’t know all that much about their lives together — except that they raised a remarkably patient man I happen to be married to. I haven’t seen many photos, either, and wonder about them now.
We’re all going out to dinner tonight to celebrate their 50 years together. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to get a story or two out of them, and if I’m lucky, some photos not too much longer from now, just to see.
The MoH and I aren’t quite half way there, but we’ll get there. We’ll get there with bells on, grinning all the way.
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