My in-laws are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary.
True to form, they wanted to celebrate together with us: their daughter and their son and daughter-in-law. After a little bit of discussion, they decided on the location for the celebration – Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. It’s a fitting destination, the family camped here together often. Prior to this visit, their last visit was in 1994.
We found a house to rent via HomeAway and now we’re here. We’ve been enjoying the seafood (oysters, crabs) and the scenic vistas here. We’ve had rainy weather (tropical storm Cristobal, perhaps?) so our pursuits thus far have been largely indoors: oat cakes, knitting, shopping for knitting supplies (Baadeck Yarns and Lorraine’s knitting shop in Neil’s Harbor), and fine dining (the home-cooked variety).
But, on the occasion of their 40th Anniversary, I wanted to acknowledge the good times and warm welcome they have given me. My sister is moving near her in-laws, and was making a distinction in a conversation between “his” family and “hers.” She kept saying “they’re not my family.” I realized recently, I think when we drove down to visit Dave’s grandparents in Indianapolis, that after 14 years, his family is my family, not by birth, but by feeling and by association at this point, and I am sure it is Janet and Nate’s warmth and generosity that have made it so.
I don’t want this blog post to be about me, but it is worth saying that, as a child of divorce and as a child in a family where 4 of 5 of my mom’s siblings got divorced, happy marriages kind of boggled me. I really didn’t get the rhythm of them or understand the give and take and the commitment involved. I knew what drove people apart, but not how they stayed together. Many people in Dave’s family, including both pairs of grandparents and especially Janet and Nate demonstrate such deep and abiding commitment to each other it just knocks me over. Last summer, when Dave and I stayed with Janet and Nate, I noticed how much Nate loved Janet. It was a simple thing, she and I had both gone out to run errands, and I had taken her car. I returned before she did, in her car, and after I pulled into the garage, I heard Nate calling to her from the garden. He sounded so happy she was back, it was sweet.
That’s the kind of love these two demonstrate, on a daily basis, enjoying each other’s company and the company of their children. They’re not sickly sweet, Janet attributes her long marriage to “wine and alcohol” but I know there’s something much deeper that keeps them together.
These two are a great example, one which I hope to emulate.