50 years of love + commitment

As I mentioned, I went back for a quick trip to Germany at the beginning of May to celebrate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Initially, it felt impossible to do both, the family vacation in April and then come back for this celebration in May, but then I thought: “These milestones only happen once, you have the vacation time! Just go!”.

So I did.

The timing was convenient because I was also able to attend my niece’s confirmation that same week. Since I am her godmother, it seemed like an extra sign that I should go.

My parents’ official court wedding date was on May 3, but their church wedding was on May, 4. So naturally, we planned a two-day celebration. However, they didn’t want an extravagant, big party, but a small and low-key celebration and quality time with immediate family (which included my sister + family, my aunt and uncle, my cousin + his girlfriend, and my brother-in-law’s parents).

On Friday night, we had tickets for a theater play in Köln. It was called “Wann sich de Famillisch triff” (which is Kölsch, a local dialect) and translates to ‘When the family gets together”, which seemed like such a fitting title for the occasion. I guess my Mom, who picked the play, should have read up on the plot beforehand because it was more of a dark-humored, morbid comedy musical where a (well-off) matriarch of a (dysfunctional) family fakes her death to find out how her kids would react to her will (which doesn’t include them). It was entertaining and we had a great time nonetheless.

On Saturday, we had reservations at our local Italian Restaurant for a family dinner. Little did my parents know that my sister and I had conspired with the restaurant owner and that we had planned to decorate the table appropriately (with balloons and flowers), pre-ordered appetizers for everyone, and were going to foot the bill at the end of the night. 

My sister and I had also gathered pictures from the last 50 years. No simple feat when half of the marriage took place before digital photography. We had a ton of photos from the last 25 years but finding photos for the first 25 years was more challenging.

We employed the help of some family members and friends and did come up with a sizable number of photos after all. We got them printed in “polaroid” format and used them as table decorations at the restaurant. As you probably know from your own experience, there are always some real gems among the old family photos. It’s not a surprise that there was a lot of laughter and reminiscing.
We also gave my parents a photo album so all these photos could be put in order and turned into a photo book later. I think it’s nice to have something “tangible” like this that you can show your grandchildren or great-grandchildren someday.

After dinner, we gathered at my parents’ house for espresso and dessert and more conversation and laughter. We continued the celebration until three in the morning – as one does (at least in our family, it’s not unusual). What can I say? We like to hang out and I think my parents had the best time.


I realize that I might be slightly biased, but I do have to say that my Mom and Dad are pretty awesome. They made marriage look easy – although it probably wasn’t all the time. As kids, we had no notion of what it meant to keep a family together, we just took for granted that our parents were there. Marriage requires a lot of courage, compromise, and perseverance. I know this now and because of it, I can appreciate their long-lasting relationship even more. I am so thankful that I still have both of my parents and to know that they still love each other and operate as a team after all these years. I don’t take it for granted and I am so beyond grateful I was able to be there for this celebration.

Cheers to 50 years of love + commitment to each other and our family.

20 Comments

  1. Happy anniversary to your parents! What a lovely milestone for such lovely people!

    1. Thanks you so much, Lindsay.

  2. Happy anniversary to them! 50 is such a big deal. And you made it such a big deal. What a fun celebration. The photo album is a great gift!

    1. Thanks Kim. I surely was a fantastic celebration.

  3. I love love love this! My husband’s mom and step-dad will be celebrating their 50th anniversary next year, and their wedding pictures look kind of like the one of your parents. Mid 70s fashion at its best. I’m so glad that you were able to go back to Germany so soon after your other trip, so you could be there to share this special occasion with your family. <3

    1. Haha, I am glad someone noticed the “70s vibe” in the wedding picture. And my Dad had hair! Lots of it LOL

  4. This is just such a lovely tribute to your parents and to marriage.
    I agree completely; only now, being married for 15 years (how did that happen; wasn’t it just yesterday we said “I do”) so I fully appreciate how much effort it must have taken for my parents to make it all seem so effortless. They invested in us without complaint in so many ways.
    I’m so glad you were able to make it back for such a special occasion, and I’m so glad your parents had such a wonderful time.

    1. Elisabeth, I have no idea how we can be old enough to be married ourselves for that long. CRAZY!

      Thank you so much for your kind words.

  5. Wow! I’m so happy you were able to be there for that milestone celebration! Reading this made me feel so happy. I love the Polaroid style photos idea!

    1. Thank you, I am just so glad I was able to be there.

  6. What a beautiful tribute to your parents! I love that you were able to track down so many photos. What a treasure for them to have all those memories collected in one place. And good on you for making the trip happen!!!!! It sounds like such a fantastic celebration.

    1. Thank you Suzanne. I do think my parents appreciated all the old photos too… they triggered so many happy memories :)

  7. What a wonderful celebration for an incredible milestone! Congrats to your parents! I always think of marriage as a journey with many stages, and evolutions, and I love to see a long-lasting one like this. So glad you were able to go!

    1. Yes, you’re so right… marriage changes and evolves with time and to stick it out together is such a wonderful thing.

  8. This is wonderful. Congrats to your parents and to you for putting together a lovely evening. The photo at the long table is amazingly joyful.

    1. Thanks so much, Ally! I really thought the last picture captured the mood (photo courtesy of my cousin).

  9. Congrats to your parents! My parents celebrated 50 years in 2019. What a huge life milestone! I am glad you were able to join for the celebration. You guys did a great job of making it extra special. My parents also did not want a big celebration so we encouraged people to send them a card for their anniversary. I forget the count but I think they got over 100 cards in the mail. Then our family got together the first weekend in Jan 2020 to celebrate. Little did we know what was ahead… That is actually the last time all of us have been together. There are so many of us and we are kind of spread out across the country so getting everyone together is quite the challenge.

    Congrats again to your lovely parents!

  10. 50 years is a huge milestone! I remember when we celebrated that with my grandparents. It’s such a special thing to celebrate because how many people make it to 50 years? Not many. I’m glad you were able to celebrate with your parents. <3

  11. Yay!! Congrats to them! I’m so happy you were able to be with them to celebrate!

  12. happy anniversary! I agree with you that marriage is not easy and requires a lot of work. it’s great that you have role models and know it’s possible.

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