Monday, August 20, 2007
Last Friday was my parents' official 50th wedding anniversary. The true festivities will have to wait until we can all be gathered in December, but we didn't want the day to come and go without saying anything. The logistics can be complicated when there are seven children living all over the country from California to Kentucky, but remedied with a "can do" attitude from our eldest brother and a little help from modern technology, we arranged to have a surprise conference call. As customary with my family, we instantly partook in a fast food version of a humor feast. Incidentally, my family is hysterical. We are far from perfect, but even over miles and miles of fiber optic network we managed to connect in a way that fed a part of me that I didn’t even know was hungry.
And don’t get me wrong, it’s not because I don’t lead a completely happy and charmed existence. I love my life. But the boundary between what feels like two different lives became rather clear after hanging up on our family conference call. Gone are the days of lying on our green shag carpet in front of the fan on a hot day while my mother made dinner and my dad helped with homework. Neatly packaged in my first life are memories of early morning swim outings and frozen yogurt runs with my sister Lori, dates and Congressional internships with my sister Suzi, mock weddings behind the garage performed by my brother Randy (I had to “marry” his friend Mark Marean – he was not a good kisser in 2nd grade, just in case you were wondering), dressing up to serve dinner to my brothers and their dates on the 2nd floor balcony, and the daily comedy routine by Greg, performing uncanny imitations of our high school staff. Gone are the days when I didn’t have to worry, because Mom and Dad had things under control.
It seems crazy to me that there are now people in my life that look to me the same way I look to my parents. I am stunned at the thought of young, vulnerable little souls counting on me for answers and guidance. Most of the time we do okay, but 50 years later we all still rely on my parents’ faith, knowledge, example, and unconditional love to get us through tough spots. How ridiculously lucky we are.
Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad. Thanks for setting the bar so high.