|At our eldest daughter's wedding 2012|
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Wedding Anniversary—Carolyn R. Wilker
My husband and I have just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. Our daughters and their husbands hosted a party for us and invited people from a guest list we provided. My parents, sisters and their husbands, and many of our friends— both those long-time friends from school days, and newer ones— who came to help us celebrate.
The doorbell rang; people came and went all afternoon. Our young granddaughters were excited about the party and came for a hug now and then or retreated to watch a television show in a room away from the steady stream of people.
The dining room table was loaded with munchies, provided by family and others. People spread out from one end of the house to the other. Introductions were made, connecting long-time friends with newer friends. Conversations ranged from school days, who brought that tasty snack and who knows who, to clowning and ministry.
Our youngest daughter had made a small scrapbook album with places for guests to write a short message. My husband and I had a hand in locating pictures. Still a few photos popped up that I hadn’t seen in awhile.
My daughters were excellent hosts and their husbands helped wherever needed. We welcomed guests as they arrived, but my daughters took over from there, mingling with the guests and asking if they’d signed the guest book or if they’d like a drink or snacks.
Later in the afternoon, our youngest daughter settled in the room where we were sitting, set a music stand in place and arranged her notes before checking the tuning of her guitar. I had asked several months ago if she could learn a particular song for our anniversary, but I didn’t know when or how it would work out. She played a few opening bars and began to sing. I found myself singing along, but silently, to the beautiful music and lyrics that I had played and replayed on the Internet where I’d found the song.
Guests in other parts of the house came to listen. For seven or eight glorious moments, I watched Sarah’s rapt face as she sang for us. I glanced at my husband who was listening with his eyes closed then looked back to watch as she continued.
When she had finished singing, she asked for words of wisdom from us. Like others, our family has weathered changes and challenges over the years, some being more recent.
I wondered what I’d say if ever someone asked me that question, and there it was, on our anniversary, with many ears— including our other daughters and their husbands— to hear it.
What popped into my head at that moment was what I said. I smiled, the answer unrehearsed, and said, “We survived.”
Whether I was to say something more profound, that’s what came out. Others laughed, the knowing response of those who have experienced their own marital and family challenges, and yet, here we are together and 40 years married and celebrating.
More serious, I answered, “Sticking together through the tough times.” Truly, I cannot remember what I said next, but it wasn’t long. Sometimes a short answer is best.
I wasn’t ready for Sarah’s solo to be over. It was quite possibly the most moving part of the entire celebration. Some folks in the front room were disappointed, thinking there would be more music forthcoming, and so an encore was requested. The guitar and the stand reappeared and Sarah sat and sang the song again.
Later, when the afternoon celebrations were past, my brother would fly in from the West to spend a few weeks with our family.
Yesterday as I wrote thank you cards, I sifted through my memories of the day. My husband might have been doing it as well.
I thank God that we have been able to weather the storms we’ve faced thus far and thankful that our family is doing well, that they are for the most part healthy, and that our girls and their guys are willing to work together and to help each other and us when the need arises. I also thank God for his love and grace that is larger than anything we can imagine.
Carolyn Wilker, editor, speaker, storyteller and author of Once Upon a Sandbox
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