As of mid-April, my parents had been married 40 years. FORTY. I have a great excuse for not writing this post on the actual anniversary. You see, they used to debate about what their actual wedding day was. I am not kidding. One year, my dad finally went downstairs to his filing cabinet full of important stuff - you know, stuff we were NOT supposed to get into growing up - and settled the debate by producing the actual marriage certificate. In any case, to honor that memory, it seems wrong to make a point of saying congrats on the correct day. I don't recall who was right, but I do think the fact that they used to debate about it says a lot about them. The day was obviously important, but it was all the other days after that one that made the marriage what it is. And those, frankly, are the ones to celebrate. No, Ed, this does not mean it is acceptable for you to continue confusing my birthday with our anniversary.
My parents have made it through the days of arguing with kids, arranging transportation to and from Friday night dance lessons in the midst of Happy Hours, leaving the light on so that the last kid in could turn it out as a sign everyone had made it home, too many events involving bleachers (despite the clear lack of talent, at least on my part), band concerts, dress rehearsals, college graduations, weddings of their children, and births of their grandchildren.
Now they're at that seemingly glorious point where they get to enjoy another generation of kids running around without the responsibility that came with my sister and me. Chances are, we're both done having children of our own, so Helen is the last of the babies that will be rocked to sleep by my mom (which perhaps makes Helen's nighttime distress the night before we left Kansas just a teensy bit sweet, instead of annoying). Oh, how many nights of the past 40 years have been spent with a child on a lap and a parent not getting any sleep?
In honor of my parents' anniversary, we've been gearing up for a yet to be named family vacation. I have tossed out various ideas including a fancy resort in Vermont that is kid friendly, an all-inclusive island vacation, a barge trip through Germany, and - much to Ed's distress - a dude ranch.
Helen votes for the Dude Ranch.