50 Years and Counting
Recently Andy and I marked our 50th wedding anniversary. We were celebrated with all three of our offspring and their families, as well as my sister and her husband and my nephew Doug and his family during a great trip to Nashville and Franklin, TN.
Andy and I were quite different in many ways, but when you're young and in love, these things seem unimportant. I was a pediatrician's daughter from Ottawa Hills, an upscale area surrounded by Toledo, and he was the son of Polish immigrants who had come to America when he was thirteen. He was Catholic and I was Lutheran. I know my parents immediately liked Andy, but they may have wondered how this would work. We were young (24 and 26) when we wed. I was a fifth grade teacher and Andy was an engineer with Manville Corporation.
Then Andy was transferred to Denver, CO, where his company had relocated. It was the first of a dozen moves that took us around the country, from Denver to the outskirts of Philadelphia, to Williamsburg, VA, back to the Philadelphia area, to Delaware and finally to Texas. Like many families, we have had our share of ups and downs, including job losses and new opportunities, adolescent travails, the painful loss of family members and friends and health issues for both of us as we aged. On the plus side, we have three great kids, fulfilling jobs, beloved pets and wonderful friends. Our move to Texas brought us close to our daughters and three grandchildren, which makes us happy every day.
Some may wonder what keeps a couple together for five decades. I believe that love, patience and tolerance has a lot to do with it. Sure, there are little things that drive each other crazy, but you learn overlook them to keep the peace. Giving one another space and flexibility to pursue their interests is important, too. In the end, it all seems to go by in the blink of an eye. If we're lucky, there will be many years ahead to enjoy the blessings of life.
"Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky."
Rainer Maria Rilke
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I'm Chris Barabasz, retired from a 35-year career managing communications for health care development (that's fundraising for you civilians). I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and freelance writer. My husband Andy and I moved from Delaware to Texas to be closer to our daughters and three adorable grandchildren.