Monday, July 19, 2010

Celebrate Good Times

June was a flurry of celebrations - two graduations, a wedding, a birthday, Father's Day, and, most significantly, Dave's parents' 50th wedding anniversary. This is a long winded way of saying we've been consuming a whole lot of sheet cake.

I have been reflecting on celebrations - the whys and hows of marking life's milestones.

The 50th anniversary bash stands out for two reasons. First, the obvious: Lyle and Janet Dolin have been married half a century! In days gone by, people didn't often live long enough to reach this anniversary; today most people call it quits before reaching it.

For those struggling with a lack of marital bliss, Janet had some sage advice: You just need to make it through the first 35 years. After that, apparently it's a breeze.

I say all of this tongue-in-cheek, but the reality of Janet and Lyle's life hit me about 1:15 a.m. the night (or morning?) before the grand departure north. Our contribution to the festivities was a 30 minute slide show aptly named "Your legacy in snapshots." Tim and I watched one of the many, many "final cuts." As He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother came to us via You Tube, I watched a montage of sweet baby faces - first Dave, then Glenn, then Greg, and finally Jeff. My reaction was oh-so-predictable: I bawled.

Tim, naturally, was mystified.

Fifty years ago Lyle and Janet set out to build a life together. They welcomed and raised four sons who, in turn, brought them eight grandsons and one granddaughter. Theirs is a rich and full legacy.

The second significant achievement was that the party was actually a surprise! Janet and Lyle expected a family barbecue and instead were greeted by about 70 close friends and relatives. It was a great celebration: good food, conversations that flowed, guests who lingered long into the evening. The D.J. stayed until midnight!

A few days later Detroit was rocked - literally - by a mild earthquake. Now, Detroit doesn't do earthquakes. Tornadoes, blizzards, the occasional flood, yes - but not earthquakes.

Let's call it one last anniversary wish.

While compiling the slide show, I surveyed something in the neighborhood of a thousand photos. I have several reflections on these photos. First, Uncle Glenn has the cutest baby pictures I have ever seen. Second, cousin Kevin looks like the happiest baby woman ever birthed. Third, commitments matter. Picture after picture illustrated the lasting and life-changing impact of life's choices. Simply put, the decisions we make and the fortitude we exercise in sticking with them are like that earthquake - they literally rock the world. Indeed, they touch eternity.

Janet and Lyle have certainly rocked my world. These four little souls who occupy my days and bring such joy simply would not be if not for the enduring union that brought forth Dave.

(One of my joy-producing offspring just came to report that he had deposited the two-year-old in the baby's crib and now can't get him out. I hear a growing cacophony of shrieks in the background).

So a final congratulations and thanks, Mom and Dad. Your legacy is a bountiful and beautiful one. I am grateful to be part of it.

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