Today my brother, sisters and I will gather with friends and family to celebrate my parent's 50th wedding anniversary.
On October 30, 1959 my parents were married in Moron de la Frontera, Spain. My father was stationed at the Air Force base in my mother's hometown. The story goes that she wanted to practice her English . . .
For as different as their backgrounds may have seemed, they had a lot in common. They both grew up in small towns, my mother in southern Spain and my father in northeastern Illinois. They both were from large families. My mother is the oldest of 6 children, my father is one of 13(!). They were responsible and hard-working people for whom family was very important. They were married in Spain, and had their first child while still living in there.
Military life is anything but stable, and before long they were sent back to the States. Cordell, Oklahoma to be exact. I can't imagine what it must have been like for my mother to leave everything she knew so far behind. Whatever her vision of America must have been, I'm sure Cordell, Oklahoma wasn't it. They had two more children while living in Oklahoma. They were eventually transferred to Indiana, which became their home and where my father eventually transitioned into civilian life. Eleven years after my brother was born, I made my appearance.
Fifty years is an amazing feat. When I think of my own twelve years of marriage, it causes me to be even more amazed. No matter how in love you are, marriage isn't easy. I wouldn't characterize my parents as a match made in heaven, nor do I think they would describe themselves in that way. And yet they have been steady and good to each other. Fifty years later and they still enjoy each other's company. They have weathered the different seasons of their lives with grace. No, their marriage hasn't been perfect, but what a gift it has been. Their commitment to each other, in good times and in bad, has been an example to me and my marriage. In an age of "starter" marriages and quick divorces, I'm so thankful for the example my parents have given to their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
I love you, Mom and Dad. Thank you for all you've given us, and congratulations!