This is the story of a boy and a girl. Their names are Gary and Char. They are my parents, and tomorrow is their 30th wedding anniversary.
Their story starts back in the glory days of college when they were introduced to each other by a couple who are still their best friends to this day. Polly was my mom’s college roommate while Mike and my dad had been best friends since around junior high. Mike and Polly were dating and thankfully decided to introduce my parents to each other. Obviously, I owe a great deal to those two, as I would not exist had they not decided to play matchmakers.
Growing up, one thing that I always knew about my parents’ marriage is that they were in it for the long haul. The first time I fully grasped this was when we were all in the car together and my parents were having an “intense disagreement” (my mom’s phrase). I don’t know how old I was, but I remember I was old enough to know what divorce was and had probably just learned of someone close to us getting one. Terrified, I begged my parents in the middle of their argument to not get divorced. I don’t remember which parent said the following words, but they have always stuck with me.
“Molly, we are never getting a divorce. We will always be together.”
I was so comforted by that bold declaration that I have never since lived in fear of my parents separating at any point. Sure, they have had disagreements and moments like everyone does, but I have known always that they’d work through things instead of throwing in the towel.
I’m not even close to getting married at this point in my life (*cough*moving on*cough), but I know– should the time ever come– I have such a fantastic example to follow in them. Beyond how great they are together, they are phenomenal parents. I don’t know how I deserved being their child, but I’m just thankful I am. I think I can safely speak on behalf of my sister and brother when I say we all know they’d do anything for us… and often have. I live a thousand miles away and only feel the pain of being away from them physically, not emotionally. They’ve always been there for me and always will.
I am thankful I can see bits and pieces of myself that I inherited from them. I got my mom’s sense of humor, but have my dad’s laugh. I got my love of black-and-white movies from my dad, but have my mom’s obsession with holidays. My temperament is definitely a mix from both of them (hooray firstborns!) and my drive to accomplish things is definitely something both of them contributed to, one way or another.
They instilled in me a love of traveling and exploring, thanks to month-long road trips they took us on growing up. They never let me off-easy and forced me to own up to my mistakes. They never tried to tell me what I could or couldn’t do, where I should go to college, or what I should do with my life. They did everything they could to help me along the way, but never suffocated me. They let me become the adult I am today.
Most importantly, they faithfully kept Christ in their marriage and our lives. They both accepted Christ as their Savior shortly before I was born, and I can’t imagine what our family life would have been without their constant foundation in our faith. Every decision, every issue, every problem was looked at in light of Scripture. To me, that made all the difference in the world.
All that to say, I love you, Dad and Mom. Happy 30th anniversary and may there be many, many more.