I can still remember my grandma and grandpa’s 50th wedding anniversary. A special blessing at Mass was followed by a big reception in the church hall, which was filled with family, friends, and neighbors. I remember the yellow dress I wore that day, and the lovely dress, corsage, and smile my grandma wore. But that may be as much from photos as from memory.

My mom died at age 42, long before she and my dad would have had a similar celebration, but I have fond memories of my husband’s parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Among the things I remember from that day are the slide show of photos that went well beyond their 50 years together, and meeting some relatives who had traveled quite a distance to be there – people whose names I knew, but whom I had never before met in person.

You may be thinking this is all leading up to my own 50th wedding anniversary. It’s not, but my sister and brother-in-law just celebrated their 50th anniversary, and that’s what got me reminiscing about this special milestone of marriage and of life.

It’s an odd feeling to look at three different generations of family 50th wedding anniversaries. What feels strange is that even though everyone was in their 70s as they celebrated their golden anniversary, I don’t envision them as roughly the same age. My grandparents were – well – old. My in-laws seemed younger, and my sister and her husband seem very young compared to the others.

Part of the reason for this is simply my age, and where I was in relation to everyone at the time. I was 13 years old and two generations away from my grandparents, I was in my 40s and one generation away from my husband’s parents, and I’m side-by-side with my sister and brother-in-law.

I just did the math, and if my husband and I live and last till our 50th anniversary, we, too, will be in our 70s. Our kids will be in their 40s, and our grandchildren will all be under 10 years of age. I wonder how each of them will see us as we reach that milestone, and how they’ll remember us in the years that follow.

Our family is spread out around the country, unlike the days when everyone lived a few miles or a few towns from each other, so I don’t foresee the type of gathering my grandparents and in-laws had for their 50th wedding anniversaries. But whatever we do, I’ll look forward to celebrating the occasion, to remembering our families’ milestone anniversaries gone by, and toasting all those yet to come.

May 1, 2023
©Betty Liedtke, 2023

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