Today is my (Rachel’s) parents’ 53rd anniversary. It’s hard to believe, since my mother doesn’t look a day over 39. And because our families help make us who we are, we’re honoring them with this special post.
My parents got married when they were young – really young – and they’ve grown together, the way you see two trees twist and wind their trunks and branches around one another. They complement each other and strengthen each other, and they have built a home with its doors open to friends and loved ones.
When my sister, brother and I were kids, my parents did all they could to give us as many opportunities as possible. My father worked long hours away from the house, and my mother took work home, pouring over thick notebooks for her office late into the night. There were no luxuries, and any gifts were necessities (see socks as gifts, 1982-1989). Piano lessons, though, were compulsory in our household. Those lessons, which ate up the small bit of discretionary money that would have otherwise existed, only existed themselves because they were deemed important to our development.
My parents’ hard work meant we all were able to go to college, and we were able to have what we needed to go out in the world. Their caring meant they opened their home to a completely unknown teenager, giving us a foster sister, and helping her long after she turned 18 and left the “official” foster care system. They also showed us what it meant to be involved in causes outside of the home, something I remind myself when I sit through school board meetings each month.
When a woman my mother knew got a fancy ring after giving birth to a son, my mother told us that this was all well and good, but we were her jewels, and we shone far brighter than any diamond. At the time, I thought it was kind of gross to think of each of us hanging from a necklace on her neck. Now I wear a necklace with my kids’ names hanging from it.
In their retirement, my parents lavish their time, energy, and love on their grandchildren. They dote on all eight of them, with kids’ artwork on the fridge and framed on walls. Photographs of the gang of 8 adorn any possible surface, and every week includes multiple trips to see and care for grandchildren in their area.
We were raised to see family and friends as jewels more priceless than any gems, and that a home is only valuable when it is filled with those we love. My parents built a family and a home that has a heart, because love has always been at the center of everything they do. Today, and every day, I give them my love and my gratitude.
Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad!