Time To Celebrate My Parents’ 65th Anniversary


All us kids — and by “kids,” I mean “my parents’ offspring,” nothing age-related — are trooping up to Wisconsin this summer for, get this, Mom and Dad’s 65th wedding anniversary. They have been happily married for 65 years. Some people are divorced by the 65th day.

As the eldest “kid,” I felt I had the right to demand something of my siblings (no change there). I have demanded that they each make a little speech about what it’s like having these two for parents. I’m sure we will all wax nostalgic with funny stories about our childhood but, the truth is, we could tell just as many funny stories about last week. Or last month. Or last year.

That is the beautiful, beautiful thing about being my age and still having both your parents. There is a blissful feeling of still being their kid, of belonging to your family just like you always did, of having a rock to stand on, a tree to lean on, a shoulder to cry on. There is still that loving support.

Of course, sometimes that loving support will say, “What were you thinking?” or “I can’t believe you did that!” or “You’ve ruined it!” — but even those comments just make me smile, because those are the kinds of things that parents say. Parents have real opinions, and they are going to share them with you. These aren’t pictures on the wall, smiling down at me benevolently, or old photographs that I can infuse with forever-approval. My parents are honest-to-goodness parents, and they will love and guide me until the day they die. It’s what they do.

Whenever I hear about someone losing a parent — no matter the “kid’s” age — I feel sorry. It’s not exactly like being an orphan, but it’s close. To whom do you turn when the world seems against you? Who can you count on to listen, listen, listen and to listen some more — even when you know you know you’ve gone beyond complaining and are now simply babbling and blubbering. Who else is willing to put up with that?

I hope they have the best anniversary ever.

The owners of the restaurant where mom reserved the party room gave her a 50 percent discount on the rate because they had never hosted a 65th anniversary party before. I guess they’re hoping word spreads and they become the go-to place for octogenarian party animals like my folks.

It won’t be a huge party. Mom and dad have outlived half their siblings and a lot of their friends. Plus, they don’t want a big crowd there. They want to make sure they see and hear everything that’s going on.

In the meantime, we “kids” are busy hunting around online to see what the symbol for the 65th is — diamonds, rubies, gold?

It ought to be emerald-encrusted platinum set with the world’s largest sapphire.

I’ve heard about “painite,” and the word seems appropriate because we kids have certainly been a pain sometimes. There are less than 25 known specimens of this gem in the world, and it was discovered in the 1950s, when mom and dad got married.

Perfect. I’ll get them one of those.

But then what do I get them next year?