This Friday, December 22, will mark my parents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary.
Wow! Fifty Years. That is impressive.
This means they have beaten the odds of death and divorce. Of all the current marriages in the United States, only 7 percent have reached the 50-year mark, according census statistics. In case you are wondering, only 35% of marriages will reach the 25-year mark (which my husband and I will hit in 2 ½ years). Heck, currently 40 to 50% of marriages in the United States end in divorce, so making it to fifty years is something special.
The most remarkable thing about this anniversary for my parents is that this marriage has lasted so long when they only knew each other for a few short months before getting married.
My parents met in Florida in October of 1968. Three months later, just three days before Christmas, they got married. They promptly moved to Utah thanks to the Air Force.
My Dad served in the U.S. Air Force from 1955 to 1985. Seventeen of those years were while he was married to my mom. Because the military likes to move people around often, this meant they moved every few years. They were stationed in Utah, New Hampshire, Japan, Hawaii, California and Nebraska before he retired.
During that time, they were away from friends and family, and they began their own family. My brother David was born 14 months after they were married. In October of 1970, my brother Jason was born, and finally I was born in 1972.
Over the years, there were tough times – the death of my brother Jason at 7 months old, the stress of constantly moving or my dad being gone with very little – or even no – notice, they survived cancer (my dad thyroid and prostate cancer and my mom skin cancer) and my mom having a large benign tumor being removed from her head. And of course, raising kids provides its own challenges. I’ll say I bet my brother was harder and caused way more headaches than I did.
And of course, there were good times – seeing their kids graduate from high school, their daughter graduating from college and getting married, the birth of their four grandchildren (two from each of us) and many happy holidays, trips and vacations.
I am sure it has been a full, busy fifty years. And even with them both retired now, they are always busy with something. There is no slowing them down. But hopefully, they take some time this Friday to spend with each other and reflect on how much has happened these past fifty years, focusing and cherishing those good times.