January 26

113 years ago today, my great grandparents Joseph James Reginald Rowse and Jetta Butterfield married.

88 years ago today, my Gramps, Jack Rowse, married my Nana, Doris Wangsgaard.

And 50 years ago today, my dad and mom got married.

For the few guys who broached the topic of marriage with me, the one non-negotiable was a January 26 wedding date. I didn’t care if it was a Wednesday, that was the date I wanted. Because, you know…

I remember my Nana and Gramps’ 50th anniversary—we drove from Omaha to Phoenix for a huge reception, and as long as we were that far west, I am pretty sure we snuck in a trip to Disneyland too. 

When the coronavirus pandemic started in March 2020, I’m not sure any of my siblings imagined that we wouldn’t be able to do some kind of equal celebration for my parents’ 50th. Surely things would be back to normal in time for us to plan a reception for them.

Oh, the hubris of the young.

But here we are, coming off a surge from the latest variant of a virus that is definitely showing the world who’s boss, and tomorrow (and the weekend) will come and go without much fanfare about my parents’ marriage.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to fathom that my parents have been married for 50 years, because I sure don’t feel old enough to have parents who’ve been married for 50 years. I can’t imagine every day was a picnic, between moving all over the U.S. for the first 25 years, raising two fairly difficult children (at least the two Angel Children made up for it), cancer, demanding jobs and church responsibilities, and just the demands of everyday life. 

For good measure, toss in a broken neck and spinal cord injury. You know, just to keep things interesting.

My parents’ marriage taught me the importance of showing up for people you love. Showing up when tired, when sick, when irritated, when happy, when fulfilled. They taught me about the importance of the small details that lead to a longer game, and how to “enjoy the journey.”

I wish we could throw them a huge party, or at the very least take them to dinner tonight. But I’m sure they know, as a couple that have been married for 50 years, that most things can actually wait. We’ll grab dinner soon. My treat.

Happy Anniversary, mom and dad. I love you both.

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