Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Today Fior and I are celebrating our 48th wedding anniversary. Add to that five years that these two high school sweethearts met and started going steady before they tied the knot, and we've got ourselves a 53-year long case of Love and Marriage. This year, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, I wasn't able to get out for a card or to arrange a dinner date at our favorite spot. But I've got memories...

I remember back to our 25th anniversary (whatever year that was). I remember feeling quite proud of that milestone. Even back then, it seemed to me to be a remarkably long time to be with one person. I remember my own parents' 25th. I was in college at the time, and my sister and I thought it proper to celebrate their silver event with a party. We invited mostly family, I drove home from college for the weekend, and we whooped it up for a night at a restaurant in a fancy NYC hotel. Congratulations to the happy couple.

Their 30th was to be their last. My mother was widowed for the rest of her life...more than 40 years. Me? I'm still going. We're still going with a long, long spin of the wheel. I'm sure that my mother and father loved one another as much as my wife and I love each other. To that extent, life is random and unpredictable. But today? Today I'm happy--and astonished--to be celebrating #48.

Lucky? Without any doubt. Hard work? I hear that a lot. "Marriage is hard work," I'm told. "You've gotta work at it," they say. Well, not always. If you're lucky--really, really lucky, as I am--it's not always hard work. Sometimes, it Day after day, Fior and I seem to sail a steady ship. Do we have a secret? For a very long time, my pat answer to that would be to say, "I make her laugh every day and smile every night." That sounds like something I'd write, right? Cute, right? Yeah, well... is it true? Actually, the truth is more closely related to our upbringing than it is to some flip remark.

Fior and I are both children of traditional mid-century Italian-American families. As a result, we both have modeled our parents' long, loving, and successful marriages. They gave us our grounding, but it was our own generation that allowed us to flavor our marriage with the colors and attitudes and the then-modern influences of our "groovy" era. The march of time.

We raised our children much in the same way that **we** were the additional influence of cable TV and VCRs. Today, our grandchildren are being raised as their parents were the constant and incalculable influence of the Internet and smartphones. While there remains a common thread through our generations along with many underlying similarities, there are also sharp differences that define and distinguish one family generation from another. Our children are on their own journey now. We've retired after lighting the way.

Has it always been perfect for us? Has it ever been? Of course not. Half a century is a lot of time for career changes and income changes and children and apartments and houses and the rest. Lean times. Simpler times. Worrisome times. But here we are, almost five decades after two 21-year-old kids dressed up and wed. We've somehow flown above our storms and drifted off beyond any predictable radar to find ourselves in these serene Delaware skies. Still plenty of fuel onboard, still maintaining altitude. Our good times have outdistanced and smoothed out any rough spots. We're lucky. We're blessed. We're extremely fortunate. We know it. And we thank our parents, as I hope that our children thank theirs, for the indelible example they've given us as a blueprint for making a marriage work. Happy Anniversary, dear. Laugh today, smile tonight!