To My Parents On Their 40th Anniversary...
This is a subject that I’m certainly not looked at as an expert in. Actually, it’s a proven fact (based on my track record) that I’ve had a difficult time navigating the whole love + marriage thing…
…though I am very good at the divorce thing.
But this isn’t about me. This is about two incredibly special people who I adore. Today we celebrate you, mom and dad, because today YOU celebrate 40 years of marriage.
Forty f-ing years.
It’s a milestone, and one that is undoubtably deserving of celebration.
There’s a reason not everyone takes the plunge and gets married. Or in my case, why many enter marriage guarded and aren’t quite sure why the are there. The marriage becomes the next step, or “more”, and the foundation is fragile.
When it comes to matters of the heart, and really allowing yourself to be vulnerable with another human, it’s a risk and it takes a lot of work to commit to life with another fallible human.
I know you’ve let each other down, a lot, but I also know you’ve lifted each other up, a lot.
There is beauty in the trying. And in the failing. And then, more trying…
With marriage, you aren’t supposed to be in wedded bliss all the time. That’s unrealistic. Married people find themselves moving in and out of all kinds of levels of love, sometimes straddling that line for a long time. Sometimes it’s best to take it day by day. Maybe even hour by hour.
Every day you stay, is another day you keep the vows. Another day you stand by your person, the person you chose to build a life with.
You stayed. And I know that it wasn't always easy.
I witnessed the good and the hard times, and I’ve witnessed the evolution of your love. I’ve seen you each rise up to meet the other, I’ve seen you compromise, stretch your boundaries, and team up to form a force that no one could break through.
Like all marriages, yours hasn’t been perfect - you’ve both failed one another - but failure is part of being human, it’s part of marriage. It’s in those times when you really screw up or make one another so angry you feel hate, that the strength of your relationship is challenged. That’s when you are still able to wake up loving them again.
You two continue to wake up, loving one another. Again and again.
I’ve seen Dad become more vulnerable, compassionate, and willing to make mistakes and I’ve seen mom become less apologetic about the things she wants - gaining more self-worth and self-love.
Each year there is more vulnerability, more compromise, more laughter.
Balance. Acceptance. Adoration. Respect. Communication.
Communication is undeniably the critical element to the success of every marriage.
Your marriage has taught me that if two people share the same values and beliefs and are committed to doing the work (together + individually) - then love will always win.
You’ve proven that, over and over again.
Erik and I certainly challenged and tested your strength. The many crises and the heartaches that you’ve endured have brought you closer, rather than pulled you apart. In times of difficulty, instead of pushing each other away you came together. Stronger and more resilient.
I am sure I can speak for both of us when I say that there couldn’t be two better role models for your children, in every sense of the word. You are a perfect duo, a yin and yang, and together you have shown us the importance of finding someone you can be authentic with; a person who respects you yet challenges you to be better; a person who loves themselves enough so they can love you.
I think marriage (especially 40 years of it) represents hope. Hope that in loving someone else, we too will be loved. For all our faults. The bad days, the bad decisions, and all the petty behavior. Hope that our someone will love us especially on the days we don’t love ourselves.
You two have that love, and I am so very thankful I’ve been able to witness the unique beauty (and evolution) of your relationship.
You'd think that coming from a family of healthy marriages, my journey with love would have been similar, but we all know I tend to take the more challenging, less traveled path.
Reaching a milestone like 40 years probably isn't in the cards for me. Having a relationship, marriage or not, that is centered on compassionate love certainly is possible.
I love you both, very very much and I am so proud to call you my parents.
Happy 40th Anniversary, Mom and Dad!