Happy Anniversary Love Birds

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.

  1. 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.
  2. They are faithful. To each other and to a higher power.
  3. 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.”
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

 

 

Red, White, and You

This weekend is designated as time to memorialize. Two years ago (geez I can’t believe it has been that long) I wrote an opinion piece for my local paper after attending a Memorial Day Service. You know the saying… if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. So today I am reposting what I shared in 2010.

2008 McLean County VFW Memorial Day Service

On May 31st the 21 gun salute echoed, the taps rang out, and the flags blew in the breeze at the Memorial Day Ceremony at Calhoun Cemetery sponsored by the McLean County Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5415.

Words were spoken and songs were sung memorializing our County’s men and women who had made great sacrifices in the name of freedom. I watched as elderly men and women slowly made their way from their cars to the service lugging their lawn chairs and wearing various arrangements of red, white, and blue. In their eyes glared the memories of a war, most likely WWII, where they experienced the loss of comrades, received word that a family member was missing in action, or recalled the memory of sending their solider off to war. I hope you have not personally experienced the grief of war. The experience of my husband deploying in 2003 for Operation Iraqi Freedom, influenced my perspective and provided me a new-found appreciation for veterans and their families.

Beverly Edds-WW II Veteran

Even though my grandfather was a WWII veteran, I don’t recall attending a Memorial Service before my husband’s deployment because I didn’t comprehend or appreciate the value of the moment. Memorial Weekend was a time that kicked off the start of summer, family BBQs, summer sales, and a long weekend to relax. I would be remiss if I didn’t admit we still enjoy these aspects of Memorial Weekend in my family, but we have added a new tradition of “memorializing” the soldiers’ sacrifices that made this weekend (and the rest of the year) free to enjoy. Memorial Weekend holds a different meaning for me now; I am one of the lucky ones-my solider came home.

Each year, I try to attend a Memorial Service out of thanks and gratitude that my love one returned from war without any mental or physical handicaps. I attend because of the moments I get to share with him because he made it back to American soil alive. I attend for the holidays, the birthdays, the everyday moments that won’t be missed because he came home.

One of the best days of my life…Clay returning from Iraq

If you don’t have a soldier in your life that you can celebrate, then I encourage you to memorialize and celebrate the life of the many men and women who never made it home for holiday celebrations, for the birth of their child, for all the dreams and moments that were left unfilled.

I have traveled to many countries, all which offer amazing sights, great food, and fine people. Sure, there is progress and equality to be created here on our own soil, but there is no place quite like the United States of America.

And for a great place to call home, I thank the many generations of veterans who carved out the freedoms of our great nation.

I would like to take this opportunity encourage you to honor the true meaning of Memorial Day. Work or other obligations may prevent you from attending an official service; however, I encourage you to be grateful all year to the men and women who sacrificed all. Appreciate and take the time to explain to your children why we line our streets with American Flags this time of year, stop by and visit a memorial at a cemetery, tell a veteran that you appreciate them, and the next time you place your hand on your heart when you hear the national anthem, do so in honor of all the hearts that ache for someone who never returned from war.

Today my spoon is full of graditude for those that served the red, white, and blue!