If mom was still with us we would have celebrated my parents’ 50th anniversary this past Saturday. As it was, we all went to mass together and then out to dinner. It seemed like too important of a date not to be acknowledged. When I think about it, fifty years ago was the start of our family. It was the beginning of something bigger than just two people. It was the beginning of our family history.
My parents met at a dance at the university my father attended. He was riding the rapid to the school and saw my mom on it, dressed up, sitting with her friends. He was immediately smitten and figured she was headed to the same place. Once they got there, he looked for her at the dance. They dated for two years, some of that long distance while dad was away at ROTC summer camp. He proposed in September of ’62 and they married following his graduation in ’63. After a three week honeymoon out west they began married life in Virginia on a military base where my dad was stationed for the next two years.
They took their vows seriously and saw each other through good times and bad, sickness and health. They had shared values that they tried to instill in us; faith and family were what was important. Adversity seemed to strengthen them rather than pull them apart. When the steel company that dad worked for went out of business and he was unemployed, mom provided both moral and financial support. Mom’s diagnosis of cancer brought out a tenderness and protectiveness in my father like we had never seen prior.
After communion on Saturday, I was so very grateful. As I glanced at my dad to my left and Himself, Sis, BIL and baby Sara on my right I realized that this is what they started fifty years ago, this family. That’s what love started.