Forty-five. It’s a beverage. It’s a pistol. It’s a record. It’s many things…including the number of years my parents have been married come July 3rd.
This pleases me as much as it blows my mind. I don’t largely observe healthy relationships in my peers, and I have come to realize that it’s because they weren’t exposed to those solid relationships when they were growing up. But, I was…so, here I am. On the outside, looking in, and saddled with expectations that feel sky-high.
The story goes that my parents were set up by some mutual friends. My dad, a huge jazz fanatic, took my mom to see Ella Fitzgerald…where my mother promptly fell asleep. (Yes, my mom fell asleep during a live performance of a jazz great, and we never let her forget it.) Somehow she survived that (“I had been teaching all day and I was tired!”) and they decided to get married, and well, here we are. Forty-five.
I have seen marriage through their eyes and by their example…it’s never been easy. It takes work, dedication, large acts of selflessness, honesty and determination. They’ve been through distance, illness, financial ups and downs and addiction…not to mention raising a child with special needs. Most couples can’t make it through one of those obstacles, much less all of them. How does this happen? Personal strength….and one of my father’s favorite sayings, Know Thyself. But, is that it? Is there one key to the happy kingdom?
I often ask my parents what their secret is, expecting some kind of spectacularly mind-blowing answer. My personal favorite default answer is “We just love each other”. Maybe there is no magical answer? Maybe it’s just that simple.