Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Golden Celebration

The year I was married, my parents celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary and my maternal grandparents celebrated their 50th. Now I'm at 25, and, last Friday, my parents hit 50.

It's a pretty cool milestone. They didn't divorce and they didn't die. Five decades after they committed to each other in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, they're still waking up in a shared bed. I'm terrifically happy for them.

My grandparents' 50th wedding party was a Mass followed by a meal in a nice restaurant. My mom had a cake made with their wedding photo on it, but she dropped the cake box putting it into the car trunk so it looked a little rough. For years I had a photo of my grandparents on that day--heads together, not quite smiling. They were of a generation that didn't necessarily smile for photographs. I remember that they seemed pretty old and frail. My grandfather was the cardiac poster child for the state of Indiana, having inexplicably survived one of the very first open-heart surgeries and then gone on to live for 30 more years, but he was never very active. I think he'd been told to guard against exertion in the same way that he was told to only eat margarine, never olive oil or butter. In their younger days my grandparents had been adventuresome travelers, but by their 50th anniversary their world had shrunk. It would continue to do so.

My parents at the same milestone are, if anything, increasing their speed. Now that my dad has a new knee he's been able to start exercising again. My mom has one of those Fitbits to track how many steps she takes each day, and she loves looking up her progress on her phone. This is good, because for their 50th anniversary they took a 2-week trip to Europe, primarily Italy. I haven't gotten to hear all the stories yet, but I can't wait. So far my Dad's told me about the Venetian glass factory they toured, founded in 1480, and the slightly older vineyard where they ate lunch, and the eeriness of the Roman catacombs. My Mom's described the marvelous restaurant they found by getting lost.

I am grateful for these parents, for their dedication to their marriage, and for their wanderlust. Love you, Mom and Dad.