This past Halloweekend, I made the trek back home to be with my parents, which is baffling, I know, considering I’m a senior Valley resident. (And before you write me off as the lamest senior in America, know that this visit to Andover wasn’t all weekend—I still enjoyed Halloweekend to its fullest capacity in all of my super awesome pumpkin costume glory.) That all said, my absence Sunday morning isn’t quite as awe-inspiring as the fact that my parents have been married for 30 (yes, three zero) years.
30, as in the age Danny Tanner was in the first season of Full House. 30, as in how long the French and the Habsburgs and the Catholics and the Protestants feuded in the Thirty Years’ War. 30, as in nine years longer than I’ve been here on Planet Earth.
So since my parents were celebrating their 30th (30!—wow!) wedding anniversary, the sibs and I all headed back to the Andover house to subsequently head up to the New Hampshire house to eat waffles/drink mimosas/watch football/walk on the beach with them.
But this isn’t going to be the “Sara Writes About her Day in New Hampshire” column.
It’s going to be the “Holy Crap Congratulations on Being in Love Forever and Ever, Mom and Dad” column.
Because wow; congratulations on being in love forever and ever, Mom and Dad. Congrats on making the hardest, weirdest, craziest thing in the world work.
Because I don’t know how long 30 years feels like, but I can guess that it feels like some version of forever, that it feels like a zillion sunrises and sunsets, like an impressive amount of Christmases playing Santa Claus, like 1,600 breakfasts on the beach, hundreds of shoveled driveways. I can guess that, for the two of you, it feels pretty perfect.
I can guess it feels like four pretty fantastic kids (if I do say so myself), like 27 Father’s Days and 27 Mother’s Days, like 72 dance competitions, like a billion weekday afternoons at ski races, like nephews and nieces and grandnephews and grandnieces and more and more weddings sprouting into something special like what you have.
I can guess that it feels like a chance encounter at a dinner party, like a first date at the Chestnut Hill Mall, like evenings that started at 7:12 p.m., like a November wedding in Davis Chapel.
I think for the most part, we all disregard a lot of the things our parents tell us as kids—chalk it up to a different generation, to the new things that have popped up for people our age. But now I think there’s so much our parents teach us that we take for granted. And sure, some of that includes the things they explicitly say to us, the lessons they preach in the car on long drives or the advice they give when things go awry or the face they give you when you’re a total screw-up.
But most of it, I think, includes the things they teach us by simply being. They teach us to be noticers, to say that we’re sorry, to surprise each other while remaining predictably by each other’s sides. They teach us about what kind of love we should give and what kind of love we should accept.
So maybe I don’t know what 30 years feels like, but I hope that by the time that I do, I’ll know something like this: that 30 years feels like a handful of declarations that skiing is stupid and another handful of declarations on the contrary, that it feels like a certain side of the bed and the same news station playing while I try to fall asleep, that it feels like orange juice waiting for me in the fridge in the morning. I hope that it feels like Mom and Dad.