Monday, September 5, 2016

50th Anniversary Toast

Spent the weekend in Brown County celebrating my parents' 50th wedding anniversary with family.

First two pictures are snapped from an early (hilly) morning run.

They renewed their vows at Indiana University.  To commemorate the occasion, we made a donation in their names to IU and secured a personalized brick outside the stadium. 

 Before the vows, we took a few family pictures on campus.  This is proof the boys actually can wear ties and smile at the same time!

No easy task to get ten grandchildren dressed, smiling, and posed.  But, it was a fairly successful photo shoot!

I pushed my luck and requested one more photo.  Can you guess which son was not pleased?

My parents renewed their vows on Beck Chapel on the IU campus.  At the conclusion of the ceremony, the organist played the IU anthem as our entire family joined in the singing.  It was one of those moments that won't easily drift from my memory.

After vows, the family traveled to the University Club in the Union.  Dinner was served with this yummy cake as the highlight.

Only complaint of the whole day is that the cake portion size was the size of my pinkie.  I wanted to cry:)

My favorite photo of the weekend.  After all these years, still laughing and hugging siblings and parents alike.

My nephew Parker exhibits a zest for life without an ounce of fear (Cooper's match).  He was always the life of the party.

But the star of the show was baby Amelia.  She didn't lack for companionship with a handful of eager relatives happy to pull her into a snuggle.

The entire weekend we spent celebrating my parents' 50th wedding anniversary.  We commemorated the occasion with special festivities and a lot of time spent with family in southern Indiana.

This afternoon, we packed up the cars to head back home.  Caleb noticed my mom carrying a package to her car.  He asked if the box contained a gift for him.

"No," I replied.  "It's an anniversary gift for her and Papa."

He paused and began, "I don't see why they get gifts for being married for 50 years.  Really, they just endured another person for that long."

I burst out laughing.

For some, staying together may be enduring a spouse.  But as one who has insider observations of my parents' marriage, their union has been more than an endurance race.  It's been five decades of two people truly loving and investing each other.

And so, I gave the following toast at their anniversary dinner (on behalf of my siblings too).

When we reflect on our childhood and our parents, we're filled with lots of little memories.  We think about homemade red velvet cakes that made appearances at every special occasion.  We recall photographs, pens, books, and glasses that adorned our house and come from every state and country around the globe.  We remember IU soccer games, Indiana small town foot races, Perry Meridian sporting events, Southport Presbyterian Church services, holidays at the farm, and trips down to Florida.

We're left with a collection of little such memories that have gelled together in our minds and left us with the following conclusions from our childhood, our family, and specifically our parents.

We've concluded that our parents loved us deeply.  They loved us enough to sacrifice things like time and money on our behalf.  They loved us enough to ensure many of the moments in our lives have been filled with joy, love, meaning, and companionship.  They’ve loved us enough to ensure they always modeled a life well lived.  And a life well lived included staying together, loving each other, and being intentionally invested in each other for five decades.  And when we think about all the gifts they’ve offered to us, those are perhaps the greatest and most lasting.

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!  We’ve grateful for the years we’ve witnessed your marriage and proud of you for 50 year together.

And we look forward to seeing them together for many more.

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