Friday, September 4, 2009

A wedding story.

Today is my mom and dad's 39th wedding anniversary.

39 years.

My parents never did a lot for their anniversary. I can remember one year, Amy and I stayed home alone while they went to Wendover for a concert. They celebrated their 25th with a cruise to the Bahamas (the one and only time my dad was ever out of the country.) It was just a day for them, usually, marked by a dinner out or a movie.

My dad was my mom's second husband. My oldest two sisters are products of that marriage to a man who, ironically, had the same first name as my dad. My mom and dad met because of a chance meeting my mom had with a friend who was dating my dad's older brother, Roe, who set them up on a date. My dad had lived his whole life in my grandma's house, working a job at Geneva Steel, driving old broken down cars, visiting the bar with his hard-earned money. I know my mom was the love of his life. In their long marriage, I never once heard him bad mouth my mom. She was his wife, and though he couldn't give her everything she wanted or needed, he did give her his complete and utter love.

They were married in a double wedding in my grandparents house one September day. The friend who introduced them ended up marrying Dad's brother, and they all tied the knot on the same day. There are a few pictures of this day: my mom with her white, 70's bouffant hair, wearing a pink dress; my dad with his awesome sideburns and bushy mustache; my sisters wearing pink, standing next to their new cousins. I'm not sure what they all did afterwards; whether they all sat down to eat some of my sweet grandma's cooking, or if they left my sisters with my grandparents to have a night alone. I like to imagine it was a happy day for both of them, my dad knowing he finally had a family, my mom knowing that she wouldn't have to raise her two daughters alone, my sisters with a dad who would take care of them in the best way he could his whole life. I hope, hope it was happy.

Amy came along a year and a few months later, and then I showed up 3 years after that. We were a family. We tried hard, even when dreams and promises were broken, when jobs were lost and money was tight, and realities couldn't keep up with appearances. We tried. My parents tried. It wasn't perfect, but whose life is?

Are there things I would change? Sure, of course. But the family choices that were made weren't my choices, and I couldn't (and still can't) control the consequences of those choices. I will say this, they stayed together, even when they probably didn't want to. I'm glad they did. As much as I hate my mom having to go through my Dad's Alzheimer's alone, I'm glad my dad has someone who visits him regularly, a Diet Coke in hand, the question of what her name is posed to make sure he hasn't forgotten (and he usually can come up with her name. Suellen.) She was taking a pizza over tonight after work to eat with him as an anniversary celebration. He won't know why. He'll eat the pizza way too fast, and gulp down the Diet Coke in moments, and then he'll resume the hunched over position he takes, wringing his hands and closing his eyes. She will leave and go home alone, the remnants of the pizza to eat as lunch the next day, the reality that he celebration is really a solitary one, because she's the only one to know the reason for the pizza, heavy on her shoulders.

Regardless, they've gotten to this day. They are still married. He's still loving her, she's still taking care of him. In a way, things haven't changed so much after all.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad. Thanks for staying together. Thanks for my sisters. Thanks for having me.


Apryl said...

This post is so sweet. I'm so glad you had such good parents. Your mom must be incredible.

Amy Sorensen said...


Thanks for writing this. I don't know what else to say!