Today our family is celebrating Mom and Dad’s 50th wedding anniversary. We are trying to put together something to say at the gathering, which is taking place at my sister Pam’s house. There will be five out of the eight kids there. I don’t know if we’ve had all the kids there together for some time. It is quite difficult, as my brother and sisters are spread apart. I have siblings in the Netherlands, France, and the rest are in the US. In the US, we are in Ohio, Oregon, and California. Today Netherlands, France, and Oregon will not be there.
So back to the topic at hand, we have been trying to figure out what we want to say. We decided on having each sibling say a bit or two about what they want — a story, what mom and dad have taught them, or some memory we have had.
So I don’t know where to begin about this. I mean, our family really doesn’t talk about our emotions, so I find it difficult to talk about how I feel. Better stick to a story, I suppose. Past, present, and future — maybe use that as a guide.
I think overall my parents have shown me the value of family. I haven’t noticed things that were in our family until I grew older and began to see how other families related, or had to make decisions on how I wanted my family to relate. For example, take dinnertime. For the most part, we had a family dinner together. Sure, there were hectic times when older sisters were working or had a school activity, but for the most part, I don’t remember not having a dinner with everybody there. The other thing I remember was that my mom cooked the meals. Nowadays, I look back and think how difficult that must have been. And there were plenty of times where I was “What are we having for dinner? Yuck!” Now being a parent, I didn’t know what I was saying back then.
Family finances were always lumped together. There were not separate bank accounts. I remember lots of nights where Dad had that green fluorescent digit calculator and was working bills. Once again, when I started seeing other couples that have separate accounts I had to choose how I wanted finances to be in my life.
Spiritual development was another thing shown to us by our parents. There were plenty of times when I could not stand to go to mass when I was young, but I never won that battle, despite my kicking heels upside-down on the wall. I guess I don’t consider our family overly spiritual, but faith is an intrinsic part of who we are. And once again, I did not really see that until after I was away and saw how much that is a part of our family.
So here we are today, celebrating 50 years. I think we are here for a lot of reasons, but overall the lessons I have learned are to give more than you take, celebrate the good, discount the bad, and head into the garage when you have to.