If I'm perfectly honest, there have been times that I have thought myself that perhaps it would be easier for them to be happy if they were apart. I'm so glad to say that they have proved me wrong.
The last few years have really been different for my parents- when I see them, they are happy. There is laughter, smiles, hand holding, holiday-taking. They seem to be falling in love all over again.
Perhaps its because their beginning was rough. It wasn't like the movies- there was no romantic, sweep-me-off-my-feet kind of courting. They dated in high school and got pregnant with me as teens. They could have gone their separate ways and seen each other at my birthday parties, Christmas, etc but they didn't. Nine months after I was born, they married in a church ceremony with their family and friends present.
The next 20 or so years would really test them in so many ways. There were some really tough challenges that they had to get through. There were times they almost didn't make it through together. But they persevered, humbled themselves to each other, asked forgiveness and moved on.
As their daughters grew up, moved out and began to start families of their own, mom and dad were able to spend more time on their relationship.
It warms my heart to see them now. When at times I have questioned it, now they genuinely enjoy being in one another's company. Do they annoy the other and fight at times? Of course. Who doesn't? But what impresses me and what I want to learn from them is their conscious decision to make their relationship work, even at times that it seemed easier to walk away.
Mom and Dad, I'm so proud of you and want to thank you for giving Chris and I a real marriage to help model ours after. I'm happy that you two have overcome some really difficult hurdles in your 30 years and that you have gotten through them together.
Happy (belated) anniversary and here's to many more!
The whole family, Christmas 2011