Today my parents celebrate their 46 wedding anniversary. This duo have been sweethearts for the majority of their lives. They started dating when she was 14 years old and he was 17 years old. People change as they do life. Experiences you have through life shape and define who you are. Starting out together in your teens and remaining a pair in your 60s no doubt takes a lot of embracing change and flexibility while remaining true to each other. It takes a stroke of luck and an extraordinary mixture of love, dedication, hard work, trust, and faith to make life work together over the years.
These two celebrated high school experiences and went to prom together. They have supported each other through college. They packed up from their small Kentucky hometown and experienced the big city of Atlanta as my Dad attended pharmacy school and my Mom worked to be the breadwinner at a bank in downtown Atlanta. Together they have opened, grew, and sold a business. They have traveled together, with kids, and with family. They have enjoyed H&L trips (named after their first name initials) across the USA and beyond where they have stayed in T-pees, tree houses, caves, cruise ships, and jails (they were not booked for an offense-the jail was a hotel).
They have built a house and made a home together. They have sold most everything they have owned and downsized. They have moved their children (nearly 20 times) to dorms, apartments, and houses. They have live through family pets such as cats, dogs, and rabbits. The agreed to crazy things like ant farms and aquariums. They planned and videoed every second of family vacations to the great west, beaches, and Disney. They have owned land and sold land. They have spent most of their life looking for something that someone in the family wanted – a special antique, Cabbage Patch kid, Teddy Ruxpin, a He-man toy, a perfect outfit, a cactus plant, or furniture. You name it, they looked and always brought back the prize.
They have supported each other through raising kids and aging parents. They have raised two kids and now have two grandsons. They have attended football, basketball, and tee ball games. They have suffered through dance recitals and pageants. They did not kill their children during the years of temper tantrums, teenage dating, or college fun. They have weathered the disappointments in life together and celebrated life’s joys together. They have made friends and lost friends. They have won at life more than they have lost.
They have shared good fashion and bad fashion trends. The have weathered good hairstyles, bad hairstyles, wigs, and no hair. They have rode thousands of miles together in a Mustang, minivan, and convertible…just to name a few (who can forget the Isuzu Trooper and Big Bertha). They have had sunny days, rainy days, stormy days, snow days. They have survived floods, blizzards, and ice storms. Most recently, they have weathered cancer together as my Mom has battled breast cancer.
Many things have changed in life, yet their relationship has not. They have talked on landlines, bag phones, and now the iPhone. They once wrote letters but now text. They have moved from records, to 8 tracks, to cassettes and CDS, to iTunes. They have moved from a giant camcorder to selfies. They have moved from plotting vacations on a highlighted map book to using an app.
When I reflect on what might be the secret to their successful marriage, a couple of things come to mind.
- They live life together as one. I cannot recall a time that were not one on life and decisions. Family, friends, jobs, life, etc. whatever they face, they face as one.
- They are faithful. To each other and to a higher power.
- They are each other’s best friend and confidant. You can guarantee if you say, “don’t tell Mom” about something good, bad or a surprise…that she knows within five minutes or less. And this works the same with “don’t tell Dad.”
- They keep it real. Which means stating what is on your mind, not holding a grudge, laughing a lot, and occasionally offering a deserved harsh word.
- They are always up for an adventure. Whether it is a hole-in-the-wall diner, a Sunday drive, or a grand vacation-they enjoy it just the same.
On the soundtrack Hope Floats (one of my favorite movies and soundtracks), there is a song by Deana Carter titled “That’s How You Know It’s Love.” In the song there is a line which states, “when the span of forever just never seems long enough, that’s how you know it’s love.” When I reflect on my parents love and devotion to each other as they celebrate their anniversary, it is clear that span of forever just doesn’t seem like long enough for the two love birds that I call Mom and Dad. Thank you for giving me a home with a healthy marriage and instilling in me the values I build my marriage and home upon each day. Happy Anniversary H&L!
Today my spoon is full of a grateful heart for my parents and their love for each other. I am grateful during the blizzard of 1977, the Stork dropped me off at your house so I can share this ride with you.
I did not want to save this post for a milestone anniversary like #50 because truthfully, each year deserves to be celebrated. I know they will kill me for all of these pictures. However, they are a testament to the fun ride they share… and the many adventures yet to come.