My parents recently marked their 60th anniversary. My sisters and I arranged and coordinated a Beach Week at Davis Park, Fire Island–a Destination Celebration close to home. Three houses were rented and filled to capacity with our families. A Big Day Celebration was set on July 3rd. Nieces, nephews, cousins, and siblings joined us to honor my parents. We totaled 81 relations who traveled by roads as far as New Jersey, and onto boats and ferries since our beach is accessible only by sea. It was a glorious beach party day complete with sunshine, gentle surf, familiar foods, lots of laughs, and cake with a homemade topper. This is the toast I wrote for them.
A 60-year marriage can be done. It is not that unusual. Couples can dig into their comfort routines, remain dedicated out of obligation and fear of the unknown singles’ world. 60 years can easily fly away.
A 60-year marriage is referred to as the Diamond Anniversary—the strongest rock, forged from an early time. A lifetime is packed into those 60-years. A diamond couple has lived through volumes of life lessons and stories. They have dwelled in the same house, gotten up from the same bed each morning, and moved through their days’ obligations.
But my parents, Diana and Bill, are an unusual diamond couple. They did not just live in a house together. They built a home complete with noise, home cooked meals, engine parts residing under beds, busy days and quiet nights, flowers, and opened doors. Filling their home with family, be it by blood or by association, had always been the normal.
My parents always greeted each morning with a kiss—grateful to rise together from the same bed. Days have been filled with typical tasks. They have always worked very hard. But they have always had each other as talisman steering through the daily routines, gathering highlights and stories. They have always cast their net to include all of us because it is always more fun to share. Diana and Bill end each night with a kiss grateful to have each other.
Living like this for 60 years sounds like a fairytale. What is the magic that brings all of us together to celebrate Diana and Bill’s diamond year? Is it their stubborn perseverance or virtuous fortitude? Could the depth of their love fully explain the uncommon longevity? I imagine their love has exploded exponentially out of control since their wedding 60 years ago.
I believe my parents’ magic is that they are indeed best friends. Their true selves are perfectly compatible. Dad is on a constant quest looking for the next adventure and collecting everyone within his reach to come along. He looks to Mom for how to make it all happen. Mom likes order, plans, and fusses over details. She quickly figures out logistics and demands attention to reality. Despite her cursory barking, she’s on a boat, in a car and/or stirring a pot of sauce ready to make a memory. They know how to give in and give out always with love. They have always been fun. 60-years may have flown by, but the journey has been filled with infectious love and forever memories. There is still more to come. How lucky are we?
And this is why we are here today. To Diana and Bill; thank you for the life lessons and memorable fun.