We didn't throw a 50th Anniversary party, though we shared very nice dinner with our eldest son, Ian, in the evening. We always have a good conversation and enjoy our time together, and of course it was his birthday too, so we had double reason to celebrate. No cake, since neither of the fellas can eat flour, and Ian is pretty disciplined about his sugar content, but we did each have a wee bowl of Cherry Garcia ice cream.
I'd spent much of the day in the garden, directing (and helping as much as I dared) a landscape crew of three transform the garden beds into summer dress. Winter casualties were removed and replaced with what may look like lost lambs now, but will eventually be more attractive substitutes. Annuals were added to fill in the blanks between the bursts of perennial blooms. Pruning happened where branches had died or intruded where they were not welcome, tree wells were weeded and neatened up. It looks much better now. In fact a moving van arrived this morning to move a new set of owners in, and one of the movers took out his camera and took several photos of the plants we'd put in.
My lovely friends A and L from France sent this Medal of Honour for bearing up/surviving 50 years of wedded bliss. Couples celebrating 50 years used to get a letter of congrats from the Queen (or in the case of Canader the Governor General of Behalf of Her Majesty). These days so many of us reach 50 years they don't bother. I think you have to hit 75 years. Lord, we'd be 94 and 99. I don't think we'll make it. So, as this is likely the only medal for marriage I shall ever receive I am thinking of printing it, laminating it and wearing it on a lanyard around my neck!
The "bearing up under" is entirely on my wonderfully patient husband's part. I certainly got the better part of the bargain. I don't know if I was made for him, but he was made for me!
We weren't able to see our younger son, Zak, who lives in Europe, but we did receive a wonderfully sweet letter from him. He has a way with words that would make the greatest writers cry. Well, it makes ME cry anyway. I'll admit to crying over many a manuscript, but mainly because seeing the English language butchered in such barbaric fashion was like having a knife stuck in my Oxford, a special organ which only editors and children who compete in spelling bees possess.
Dearest Madre, Dearest Padre,
Growing up in our small family, there were many things that I took for granted. I thought that parents didn't shout at each other or their kids (well, except when I was setting things on fire.) I thought that it was normal for homes to be instantly turned into animal rescue centres, doll factories, herbal compounding shops, solar heater manufacturing facilities, costuming workshops or any of a host of other things at a moment's notice.
I thought that families read to each other, built models together and spent hours dreaming up the future over popcorn dressed with brewer's yeast and butter. I thought that other children must be encouraged to tackle any creative venture that caught their interest. I also thought that the level of perseverance and devotion that I witnessed day-to-day and year-to-year between the two of you was a normal thing as well.
In the years since I've left home, I've learned that these things (along with many others) were all rare gems to be treasured. I've also learned, ruefully at times, that they are long yardsticks to measure oneself and the rest of the world against.
The more time passes, the more I grow to admire the essential characteristics that define you as individuals and as a couple. The more time passes, the more I understand (but can never know) how very much you must mean to each other and how much we must mean to you.
I would like to be with you both and Ian on this day. I fear that we'll have to settle for our virtual presences later today or in the near future, and a real visit as soon as time and finances permit.
With all my love,