Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Happy 54th Anniversary, Mom & Dad!

Today marks my parents' 54th wedding anniversary.  They were married August 26, 1961.  

My parents are very different people. They met on a blind date in the late 50's.  She wore sweater sets and blushed easily.  He was an ornery greaser prone to mischief.  But if every good girl loves a bad boy and if every bad boy just wants a mother, then of course they'd hit it off and get married.

From all appearances, my parents had and have a happy marriage.  It's changed recently because of Dad's Alzheimer's and the fact that he lives in a nursing home.  But if the very fact that my mother visits my father two times a day every day (only missing in cases of extreme weather or doctor appointments), then her devotion to him suggests that their marriage is still good and filled with love.  My biggest wish is that they would be in a different situation than they are, but I think they are demonstrating what a good marriage is all about:  sticking with each other for better or worse, sickness and health.  It's not the retirement they would have chosen for themselves, but at least they still have each other.

If my parents had any marital discord through their 54 years together, it was most likely the mashing of their innate characteristics:  Mom's sometimes puritan tendencies vs. Dad's resilient "good-time Charlie".  It's probably not only what initially attracted them to each other, but also most likely served as the stumbling block that would, at times, sully an otherwise perfect relationship.  Many was the time where Dad's "life of the party" attitude was met with Mom's arm-crossed disapproval.  And what's even more interesting about all of this is that I seem to have inherited both of these qualities from them. The pugnacious duo of Dad's accelerator and Mom's brakes lives inside me.

In my life, "Mom's brakes" have won out 99% of the time.  For the most part, I've prided myself on knowing when "a little too far" was far enough, when to cash in the chips, when to stop the tomfoolery.  But occasionally Dad's accelerator has gotten some use as well.  I lived a bit of a reckless life the last few years I was in DC.  "Dad's accelerator" caused me to push some boundaries that I might not otherwise have pushed.  But Mom's brakes eventually prevailed.  I decided to leave DC altogether to start fresh in Chicago.  And how very lucky I am that I did just that.

Of course, I celebrate many other wonderful qualities I've received from my folks, whether genetically, physically, or naturally.  I am the best of my parents, and am thankful for all the wonderful love and support I have received and continue to receive from them.  Today I celebrate them and their dedication to each other.  They are leading by example and continue to show me what it means to truly love someone.

May 2005