Today is my parents’ 43rd anniversary, and if they hadn’t met and married on this day in 1975 you wouldn’t be reading this post. (Weird, huh?) Also, I wouldn’t be alive! So we all owe a lot to Bob and Helen for tying the knot! 😋
This photo is up in my living room and I like to look at it and think about several things:
What were my parents’ thinking about on that day? How much joy, excitement, anxiousness did they feel in the moment? It’s funny how a photo can capture so much in just one instant, and I’ve spent hours trying to pick apart their smiles, eyes + body language to uncover secrets I’ll never know. (I’m nosey!)
In what ways am I like my parents, and in what ways am I unlike each of them? As I search the photo, I take note of the physical characteristics from each of them: my dad’s nose, my mom’s almost non-existent eyebrows. It’s astonishing the way genetics works: I noticed, after some careful study, that my nephew has the exact same shaped nostrils as my father (my sister, too, to a lesser degree.) Nostril shape? I’d never thought of that before. But I also take stock our similarities and differences that can’t be seen in the photo—how I’m so much like my dad in my humor and sarcasm—how I make lists like my mother. My parents’ youth in this photo reminds me that I’m on a very different path in some ways than they were at my age. They met in graduate school in their early twenties, both right out of undergrad (I took years to go back for my Master’s) and got married soon after they finished with their matching MUPs at the tender ages of 24 and 23. (I’m 10 years older than my mom was when she got married, and the age she was when she had her last child. I’m neither married nor a mother, though I hope for both.)
Although at times looking at this photo has provoked hard emotions for me—questioning what marriage means, what love looks like, if I’ll find it and keep it—I have a much more gentle and grateful attitude towards it when I see it now. I’m thankful for my parents for showing me that relationships are a partnership, that they require work, that it’s OK (and possible) to follow your dreams and still be one half of a couple. I’m forever indebted to my parents for the foundation they built for me, and the love and support they’ve shown me throughout my entire life.
So maybe today, you take some time to reflect on the important and influential people in your life. In what ways are you different and in what ways are you the same? How do those similarities and differences impact your life, and how can you express your gratitude today?