Today my parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, and I wanted to dedicate a blog to them because this is such a tremendous milestone that it somehow makes me feel special by default.*
*my enneagram Four couldn’t be happier
Fifty years. Good God, that’s a long time. When they got married, disco was just becoming “a thing,” Neil Armstrong was still living his moon-walking high, and Walt Disney World had just opened in Florida.** But Charles and Shelly were just two 21-year-olds from Philadelphia, high school sweethearts who were preparing to move across the United States to New Mexico, all cute and happy and in love.
**there is at least one person out there who will find this fact worth mentioning
I don’t know much about the early years of their marriage since I was not a part of that. I know they had their ups and downs. I know there were several moments in which threats were doled out to end the marriage–one of which most certainly happened when my dad took my mom skiing on a double black diamond slope, after just learning how to ski, and this was before my mom sliced her head open and had to get 15 stitches–but even through the hard times, they continued to choose each other.
For those of you who don’t know the story of how I came to be–I, their only child and crowning achievement [ahem]–the word “miracle” is often used. My parents were unable to have children for medical reasons, and they lived the solo-married life for 15 years. But in the early 80s my mom opted to go to Ethiopia as a nurse during the famine, and (as someone once said), it was as if God blessed them after that with an ability to conceive. Or maybe it was because my mom called my dad from Ethiopia and said, “Could we sponsor one of the doctor’s sisters, to come live with us and go to school?” and my dad, without question, said yes. There were a lot of reasons to bless these two humans.
***a note about bureaucracy: I–who was not yet conceived–was three years old by the time Zemen obtained a visa to come to the United States. She lived with us for seven years.
And behold, Jenny was born! But this is not a story about me, even though I’ve somehow coopted this story.
What I wanted to say was this: I realized, a couple of years ago, that my parents’ 50th anniversary was approaching, and I knew–as their only child–I needed to do something special. Ordering flowers at the last minute and sending a card that would arrive days late was not what I should be doing for their golden anniversary.
In my panic, I asked my mom what I should do. Should I throw a party? Whom should I invite? I wouldn’t have known the first thing about how to throw an anniversary party. I can’t even arrange my own birthday celebration, let alone a giant soirée for two people whose friends and family extend across the United States.
My mom said don’t worry about it: “Your father doesn’t like parties.” But still, I worried. I am, after all, the daughter of my mother.
And then 2020 happened. There is NO reason to be happy for a global pandemic…except that it got me off the hook for throwing an actual party AND offered a new and creative way to honor my parents. Thus, the video tribute.
I reached out to friends and family, coworkers and church members, and asked them to say a few words for my parents. I realized as the list got longer that there were more people I left out. You meet a lot of people in 50 years of marriage! But I also realized just how wide and high and deep are the connections my parents have made, the generosity they’ve extended, the lives they’ve become intertwined with. The contributor list is not a complete or exhaustive list, and I wish I could have connected with more people.
Nevertheless, the video tribute is attached below. I apologize because I am no videographer, and editing is not my forté; my proudest achievement was subtitling one of the submissions. But I’m so grateful to everyone who contributed, the sweet words they shared, and the dedication they showed in getting me these videos. It truly was an effort of love.
In the meantime, we spent the weekend in Santa Fe. I’ve included some photos of the lovebirds, both then and now, and if you want to glimpse the lives that Shelly and Charles Currier have touched, feel free to check out the video.
Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad. I love you.
Yiamas, and xronia polla!