Saturday, May 28, 2011

32 (now 34) years and counting...

I originally wrote this two years ago as a Facebook note, but today (my parent's 34th anniversary) I am re-posting it here...

Tomorrow (Thursday, May 28th) is my parent's 32nd wedding anniversary. While a wonderful event, it is sad that 30+ years of marriage is becoming an increasingly rare occurrence. When they met in 1977, my mom was working as a church secretary. She had the job (and I'm sure she'll correct me if I get any of this wrong) of making sure everything was prepared for the annual Valentine's Banquet. In the midst of the preparations, she made an off-hand remark to the pastor about how unfair it was that she was doing all that work and didn't even have a Valentine. Shortly afterward, the pastor asked her if she was familiar with a guy in the church named David Heinzeroth, she wasn't ...but soon would be.

One Saturday, while working in the office making sure the bulletins were ready for the next day's service, a man shows up and asks for the pastor, who isn't in. The pastor had asked the man, my father, to help move some furniture and then conveniently didn't show up himself. The only discrepancy I have ever heard in the story happened next...while they were talking, my mom had to move a box of bulletins from one place to another, somehow they all ended up on the floor and he helped to pick them up ... she says the box broke, he says she dropped them on purpose, I don't take sides. Whatever happened, it was apparently successful because not too long afterward they had their first date. 

A group was planning to attend a concert in Cleveland and then return to the church for refreshments. My mom had already committed to be part of the group staying behind to prepare things for afterward, so when asked by my dad to attend the concert she declined. He didn't take "no" for an answer and arranged for someone to take her place. They made it to Cleveland expecting to enjoy the concert, but instead ended up with a funny story. They were sitting, waiting for things to begin, when my mom received a very cold, and sticky, surprise ... the woman behind her sat down, bending at the waist, and poured her very large cup of Pepsi over my mom's head. While offered a dry seat further down the row she chose to stay next to her date and remained in the cold, sticky mess the rest of the night. 

While that story makes me laugh every time I think about it, one of my favorites happened the first Sunday my dad chose to sit with her in church. He hadn't met her family yet, but sat with her anyway (a brave, yet insane thing to do). My grandfather happened to be sitting next to a friend of his. When my dad sat down, Murph leaned over to my grandfather and asked, "Who is that guy?" To which my grandfather responded, "I don't know, but I'm certainly going to find out." That afternoon my dad was "invited" to lunch. 

My parent's "courtship" didn't last long...they met in February, married in May. In today's "date for years, live together for a decade" world of relationships, this seems doomed for failure. Somehow, in that short amount of time, they each found their best friend. After 32 years of marriage, they would rather spend time with each other than anyone else (even their kids :-/ ). After 32 years of life together - breaking into houses on their honeymoon, moving so many times I think we've all lost count, job losses, health issues and injuries, family difficulties - they haven't grown bored or discontent with each other, they have grown closer. As a child, it is a pretty awesome thing to be able to say that my parents are more in love today than they were while I was growing up. 

Three years ago, when I was approaching my 27th birthday, my mom's brothers made sure to point out to me that I was about to become an old maid because even my mom had married by then. In the three years since, I have heard more jokes about my state of singleness then I ever care to. There is a picture on my refrigerator, a knight on a white horse with a caption "It takes a mighty good husband to be better than none." That is a phrase I can easily live by, because I know that unless I am able to have the kind of marriage my parents have (not that it is perfect, and they would admit that) I don't want marriage at all. 

So, on their anniversary, while I should be giving them a gift...instead I thank them for the gifts they have given me…the opportunity to grow up with two parents who love each other deeply and are committed to each other completely. The example they have provided over the years. And, the hope that such a marriage is possible.

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