What were our kids thinking when they decided to throw a surprise 30th anniversary party for us? After all, I wouldn’t consider thirty years one of those great milestones.
They said this was how they decided to thank us for all that we’ve done for them since, well, basically the beginning of their lives. We were just doing what parents do, taking care of their kids’ basic needs and a little bit more – a place to try sports, a good education, and a little vacation once in a while. We were trying our best to prepare them for life.
That night back in April, we arrived at our neighbourhood community hall a bit suspicious that a little something was going on but it was huge. Eighty plus family and friends shouting “surprise” – all people who have supported us along the way – music of our era, a slide show running all night to whisk us back through time and two huge photo scrapbooks filled by K1 and K2 with our continuous love story.
Our impromptu speech went back to when and where it all began, our commitment to stay together as long as we were “still having fun,” our extra long courtship, a sudden elopement and our wedding story. My one and only bridesmaid, K4, had flown up from California to celebrate with us. She shared her version of how it all happened and we all laughed at the classic tale of being married in a courthouse between a rape case and a child custody battle.
But, I don’t know whether or not the kids realize what they actually did for us by throwing that party. It was like the wedding reception we never had.
The Consultant and I were commended on our commitment to one another by many a guest. But, looking around the room, we had to take note. The majority of the couples there are equally as devoted to each other. We realized that we surround ourselves with folks who are dedicated to the hard work of maintaining the, not always easy, work of building a life with someone. In a culture where divorce rates are around fifty percent, that really says something. Suddenly, our relationship felt extra solid.
At the end of the evening the two of us were feeling a little emotional about the value we had contributed to each other’s lives. I told The Consultant that he had a healthier lifestyle than he would have, thanks to me, and he told me that he’s kept me from a life of boring drudgery – mostly true.
We validated that the choices we are making and the activities we commit to give us our best chance to reconnect and stay connected at this stage of life. We reflected on our trip back to Crete last spring, where we rediscovered our intertwined roots.
Timing is everything. What the kids did the evening of our party was move the spotlight from themselves and their plans, over to our plans and us. They made celebrating thirty years of marriage significant. They made us feel like we’d done our jobs well. They made the empty nest feel like success.
Gratitude accepted, Buddy and Princess, and gratitude right back at ya!
Well, Mr. Consultant, Happy 30th Anniversary. Whatever happens for the next thirty years, I hope they’ll be with you. Healthy. Exciting. Committed. Happy.