Marriage. I was recently asked to give a toast about this very subject and for the life of me I could not come up with a single thing. At first I thought it was because I’m terrified to speak in public, but it was just my family; then I thought maybe it was because I didn’t have time to prepare, but I had plenty of time and 40 years to look back on (well technically 35 of my own years); and then I thought it was because Marriage is just not a good subject for ME to talk about, I’m simply not good at it. Whatever the reason, I fell short and I was unable to tell two of the most important people in my life how very significant their 40 years of marriage is to me and to many.
My parents celebrated 40 years married yesterday and even though I wished them congratulations, helped throw them a surprise party and raised my glass to them as my brother spoke and recited how he couldn’t wait to follow in their footsteps, I was without words.
My parents, like most if not all married couples, have been through thick and thin, good times and bad, trying times and easier times, but what sets them apart from many, is that they would do it all over again as long as they were together. There were times when I didn’t know how they would make it through the storm(s) of raising my brother and I (mostly me) and times when I would wonder how they were ever not together in their lives, but one thing I never doubted was their love for one another.
At the party yesterday one of my cousins asked my dad how they did it, how they made it all these years still intact. My dad’s answer was simple and perfect…we worked on it every day, every single day and…We Dance.
That statement was more true and more definitive then I think anyone in that room could ever know. Growing up I remember good times and bad times but the details of what made those times good and the bad have faded in my memory, however, my parents dancing never, ever will, and that memory is what makes me believe in true love.
It began before they were even married and into our childhood. They went dancing every Friday night, left us with sitters (some fantastic, some questionable) and sometimes although it wasn’t always easy, they made it a point to go together. Even as recently as this weekend, you ask what they did on Saturday night and my dad will proudly tell you they cleared the living room and danced all night. Growing up when we would attend weddings people would come up to me and tell me how amazing they were on the dance floor and how cool it was to watch them. I’d just smile shyly and say “yeah, I know”, but the truth is, they were, and still are amazing, because when they’re out there the only thing that matters is each other.
No matter how tough, no matter how bumpy or crazy life got, no matter how insane my Dad’s driving was or how uncontrollable my Mom’s reaction to it was, or whether there was a birth of a new grandchild or death of a loved one, they would always come back to their foundation and the love they share, and have shared through it all because of the foundation they built many years ago together.
When I see my parents holding hands after all these years, I can’t help but smile as it confirms that a love like that still exists and I’m very lucky to have witnessed and continue to witness it today. I’m so proud to be their daughter and so happy to be able to celebrate 40 years of marriage with them, and even though I froze yesterday, I hope that these words today can give justice to an amazing accomplishment and an amazing couple. Congrats you guys, we love you and because of you…
I will always believe in love because at the end of the party when all the cake is gone and the celebration comes to an end real love will last forever ….because they danced.