My parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this month.
I know -- hearing about any couple making it through 50 years of marriage is like witnessing the birth of a unicorn. It's rare, but as hard as it is to imagine, somehow you bring yourself to believe it could exist.
Here's the thing: I decided it would be fun to throw my parents an anniversary party for this outrageous accomplishment. Fun is an unusual word. Someone told me that newborns are fun. I was quick to correct them with, "No, dancing the jitterbug on New Year's is fun. Newborns are work."
But knowing it would be fun, but mostly work, I wanted friends and family to observe this phenomenon of being married for 50 years.
I wasn't sure where to start, but I did what any person of my generation would do -- I got on the electric telegraph and busted out Morse code to the nearby residents. Not really. I hit the Internet to research (which really just translates to catching up on some emails, looking at book reviews, and reading random blogs).
After a while of doing absolutely nothing related to what I wanted to do in the first place, I eventually found some good information. This specific anniversary is the "golden" anniversary. I think about two things when I think about gold. The first thing is about a picture of my friend at a party who spray-painted a dinner plate gold. Then he hung it on a chain around his neck to look like enormous bling. I also think about a gnome-looking miner dancing a moonshine jig yelling, "I've hit the big one! I'm sitting on top of a gold mine!"
I can't very well decorate the place with crazy bling and pick axes so instead I decided to have the cake made with gold accents and placed yellow flowers everywhere.
I did a ton of shopping and with each receipt I reminded myself I was adopted. That couldn't have been cheap. It's not very classy to talk about money when throwing a party, but it gets to a point when you are secretly hoping someone will compliment the random chocolates spread around, the disposable table cloths, and clear plastic forks. The biggest compliment went to the immaculate white fondant covered strawberry cake with cream cheese frosting. It was definitely worthy of praise!
For entertainment, I spray painted myself gold and was a golden mime. Not really. I created a slideshow that was displayed by a projector. The slideshow was quickly thrown together at the last minute, but I am proud to say at least four of the seven grand kids made it in!
The only glitch was that my 5-year-old daughter's tooth started to hurt. Out of nowhere she yelled as if someone stepped on her foot. My husband and in-laws took care of her while I had to push through the party.
Meanwhile, my year old son decided he wanted to be permanently attached to my hip. I now have the pleasure of opening 12 sparkling cider bottles with 22 pounds of wiggling flesh on my hip. I handed him to his papa which like watching butter melt on a warm roll.
When it was speech time, I panicked. My two older brothers, practically 8 feet tall, stood on each side of me, which made me feel like a meatball. Since they are whispering giants, I had to do the talking. I could only think of things I shouldn't say: don't talk about statistics and how it's not looking good for the rest of us; don't talk about how we wish our beloved family dogs were with us now, but they are now dead and rotting; don't pretend any of these people are in their underwear, this just isn't the right crowd for that.
Even though my face looked as if I was going 100 mph down the freeway, I just faked Italian gusto and busted out something genuine. It must've went OK, because they all smiled with approval.
The entire event was smooth and wonderful. My parents were blessed by the people who showed up and even related pearls of wisdom to us. I like to joke about how the supernatural destination of reaching 50 years of marriage is comparable to a freak show. In reality watching it unfold up close as their daughter and as a wife with my own marriage of almost seven years, it is in all actuality an admirable and extraordinary triumph. To me it could be described as art. With hard work, patience, and time they have been successful at sharing a canvas.
Congratulations Mom and Dad! I am proud to be part of that picture.
Kasi McClure enjoys being a wife and mother of two in Kenai. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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