My Parents Fiftieth Anniversary – What Have We Learned?Posted: January 12, 2011
This weekend we are having a dinner party for my parents fiftieth anniversary. You should stop by.
Do you even have anyone you’ve known for fifty years? Me neither. I’ve known my parents for forty-nine years, but I didn’t really have anything productive to say for the first few years. Some might argue that I still don’t.
But now, I seem to have something to say about everything. I suppose I should have something to say about my parents on this big occasion. So, what lessons are there in my parents fifty years?
When you have kept a roof over your heads since the Kennedy administration you can legitimately say things like “when you are under my roof you’ll do it my way.”
Taking care of business, family and yourselves for that long carries some weight. My parents established rules for me to live my life by while I was under their roof.
I am forty-nine, and I’ve had my own roof for a good number of years now. The rules have not changed for me. I follow the same ones I did when I lived with my Mom and Dad.
Establish yourself as a substantial presence in the lives of those around you. Having an apartment during the Kennedy Administration is not a prerequisite.
If you deal with any problem as just something else to fix, you can fix it.
Within the past few years, both my parents were diagnosed with cancer. My Mom’s diagnosis was found to be an error after about two months. My Dad actually had cancer and beat it, because that is just the sort of thing he does.
I have never seen panic in either of them. In fact, I believe that together they cause panic in things that terrify other people.
When they each told they were ill, the discussions they had with me were calm and matter of fact. “I have cancer, here are the options, what do you think is best?” Sure there was emotion, but overall, the focus was on how our family would defeat the problem. Panic wasn’t going to help us.
Panic never helps.
No matter what is happening in my Mom and Dad’s life, the other thing that is happening is laughter.
Not everything in those fifty years has been a Hollywood musical. They’ve dealt with the same problems every other person meets in their lives.
When those problems come up in my parents’ home, they are dealt with directly. As the problems are dealt with, the jokes start. Once the jokes start, they do not stop, even after the problem does.
Remember to laugh.
Don’t talk to strangers, but if you talk to them, they aren’t strangers.
Like any good parents, Mom and Dad taught me never to talk to strangers. Little Me took it to heart.
Older Me has noticed that my parents talk to strangers. They are outgoing and extend kindness to those they meet. The effect that has on those they meet is amazing. People remember and care for them in ways that I don’t think my folks realize.
People who met them twenty years ago ask me about them all the time. They go to their favorite restaurants and the people there greet them happily. Many of my son’s friends in high school treated my folks as an extra set of grandparents.
So maybe both lessons are true, little ones shouldn’t talk to strangers, but the rest of us ought to take the extra steps needed to be kind to everyone we meet.
Always Say Thank You.
Thank you, Dad.
Thank you, Mom.