It seems that lately my family has had been in celebration mode non-stop. Milestones, wonderful opportunities to celebrate important events with friends and family, and shout to the world, “Hey! This is a big deal!’ In a world where prizes are given for simply ordering a bag of nuggets, trophies are awarded for just showing up and acknowledgement is expected at every turn, celebrating milestones are a way for us to tell the world what and who we value.
Recently my in-laws celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. The results of those fifty years are two children (complete with in-laws!) and five granddaughters. When two people not only commit and then remain committed for half a century, a celebration is most certainly in order. My husband spent months thinking about and trying to come up with a way to honor his parent’s achievement. In the end, bringing the children and (most of the) grandchildren together for a lovely meal, a photographer friend to document the occasion and the circumstances to spend some quality time together, it was a memorable way to celebrate five decades of marital bliss. It was important to us to show our children, nieces and close friends that we value their relationship and honor their partnership. This, of course, is in sharp contrast to what most children witness on a daily basis. An anniversary such as this is becoming more unusual. Today it seems marriage is under attack and perceived as an antiquated idea. Although divorce rates are actually on the decline, my informal observations in a public school would bring me to infer that the decline is due in part to the fact that people just don’t bother to get married anymore. They simply cohabitate. I’m not pointing a finger since my husband of 24 years and 10 months (I sense another milestone in my future!) cohabitated together for nearly two years before saying “I do.” However, today it’s not uncommon for families to have two, three or even more last names on the mailbox with no intent of ever entering into marriage let alone making a commitment to stay together beyond their cell phone plan’s contract renewal date. The lack of a legal and spiritual union seems unfinished to me. As if there is a backdoor left open…just in case. So, when a beautiful couple, once young and full of eager anticipation, now a little slower, quietly resolve to remain married for the next 50 years, it’s something worth celebrating. Continue reading “Milestones”
Not too long ago, I interviewed my daughter’s future in-laws. The kids had only been dating a few weeks at this point but I had a suspicion that things might get serious so Mr. B and I figured we should check them out. We planned to go out for dinner and get to know each other. I learned that Dad is a pastor with a doctorate who teaches and counsels couples about marriage. Good. To. Know. Mom works for a volunteer organization. Nervously I start rummaging around in my brain closet for my good works resume. I tie five year-old’s shoes. All. Day. Long.
This is new territory for Mr. B and I. We’ve never met the “other parents” before. My daughter was very, very nervous. I think she was worried we might embarrass her or something. (Muah?) We invited them to meet at our home before heading over to the restaurant. They seemed kind, friendly, and equally enthusiastic about our children’s new relationship. We shared some pleasant chit-chat before dinner. You know – “I collect the same pottery!” – “How much property do you have here?” – “How long is your commute to work?”. It wasn’t long before the fact that we have chickens came to their attention. A brief discussion followed about raising chickens. And then, for some odd reason, I felt the need to tell these nice, normal people about the first time I watched the rooster get his “groove on” with one of “the ladies”. You know…typical meet-the-parents-for-the-first-time conversation. Continue reading “CHICKEN SEX”
Children today have a lot. Students as young as five leave the house with cell phones in their pockets, carelessly toss tablets into the backseat of mom’s car, and strut into Kindergarten donning designer clothes. They take cruises as babes, fly to Florida to grab a pair of mouse ears EVERY summer and receive a trinket on almost a daily basis whether it be from a hamburger in a box, the school store or a quick trip to the mall. I suppose the ability to spoil provide for our children can reflect our personal success as parents. After all, it’s not uncommon for parents to want to give more to their children than they had themselves. My husband and I have worked hard our whole marriage to make sure our children had whatever they needed and that we were able to provide them with wonderful childhood experiences. Although neither one of us came from wealthy families, we’ve both been to see Mickey, we never starved and are functional adults today. Our parents didn’t spoil us and we never went without. I am sure we had more than they did as children and we have carried on the tradition of providing more for our offspring. However there is a balance between enough and too much. When I look around today I see children with so much stuff and parents sprinting in circles to give them more, more and more still. This leaves me shaking my head at the gluttony and reflecting back to when my children were younger. Perhaps if parents put more of their child-rearing energy into volunteering, making donations and/or simply modeling kindness for their children, the lasting impact of these life lessons would prove to be profound. I’m pretty sure the little plastic toy that came with the hamburger and fries in last night’s dinner is already broken or lost or forgotten altogether. However, the fulfillment you get from helping someone in need, or making someone’s day, lasts in the heart forever. Continue reading “Overindulgence”