This week, I drove five hours from my home in NOVA to my childhood home in Western Pennsylvania. I had to leave my cat at home because my favorite of Mom’s cats, Chance, was sick. Mom was afraid he might be on his last days.
When Chance was a kitten, he was hit by a car. When Mom found him, he was barely alive, frostbitten, and unable to eat. My parents saved his life, and now he’s a eight year old, chubby, cuddlebug, his adorably smooshed face and clipped ear the only indications that he had ever been hurt.
He’s in my lap now, purring and preparing to nap. I’m celebrating his recovery, but I’m also celebrating something else this week.
My reason for visiting PA this week is my parents’ 40th Anniversary.
They started dating in high school. When my students ask me, hope in their eyes, if their high school romances will last, my first instinct is to say “Yeah, no.” Mom and Dad, though, beat the odds. They married in 1975, twenty and twenty-one, respectively. Six years later, my sister was born, then me, then my brother. Thirty or so years later, they have a daughter and son in law and four grandchildren. We’ll all be together celebrating as a family tomorrow.
Looking back on our family history, I can say their marriage faced challenges, but they met them face on. My parents are fighters (some would say stubborn) and they don’t like to give up. Just like with Chance and the countless other pets nursed back to health by them, my parents work well as a team. To paraphrase Mom, they’ve lasted because they’ve fought battles together.
Maybe that’s the key to a long lasting marriage.
That and pets…