|what, you don't have cardboard cut-outs of important moments from your life?|
Today marks the 50th Anniversary of my parents, The Admiral and The KareBear.
In the world of parents, both Jamie and I hit the jackpot.
At some point in high school I started understanding not everyone gets the sort of folks I have. They're genuinely good people - as focused on communities micro and macro as they are about what happens with our clan. Their mode of kindness and generosity - not just with each other and us, but with strangers and people they've just met - is something I try to emulate. And I'm here to tell you, what seems to come naturally to them is something I have to work at. 50 years on, it's an unspoken, mutually agreed upon way they both push and help one another.
I am aware that as my parents celebrate their 50th today, I am lucky to have them both here, in good health and still very much in love - maybe more so than ever on that part as they're now a few years into retirement and have neither kids nor jobs to distract them as they go about their business and spend no small amount of time together. So I count my blessings, recognize that fate dealt us a good hand, and try to appreciate what I've got in them.
And it's never hurt that they've been big fans of Jamie since Day 1.
These days they're living about 45 minutes north of me and Jamie, so we see them quite a bit, especially as my brother and his family live close-by and my nephew (everyone's focus, of course) gets lots of grandparent time. We've moved into that thing I'd watch my mom do when we visited her parents - while you're always going to have that parent/ child relationship and I'll never not receive unwanted advice while seeking out advice on other things, the conversations are easy and open between grown-ups, and sometimes you can lose hours just chatting over coffee or dinner.
It's their life story to tell, so I won't detail it here, but there's nothing on paper that says they should have made it. An Air Force guy from Miami and a first-generation college girl from a snowy small town. I'll never be clear how they made that work in the early years, and how they got to where they are now. It's a heck of a "only in America" type story.
In 50 years of marriage, one doesn't get through it without disagreement, without grating on one another, or irritation at finding middle ground and compromise. Still, if you're going to argue or disagree, there are ways to do these things and remain partners, pals and in love, and my hat is off to anyone who can do this as equals, each with their own strengths.
I don't know where you draw the line between nature and nurture, but if I've got an ounce of a decent person in me, I know where it came from. I'll never have the same spirit of generosity they embody, but at least I've got a target at which to aim, and hopefully the same with kindness and hand of friendship they're quick to offer.
Here's to 50 great years for my two role models. We love you, Mom and Dad.