I’ve written a lot over the years about family, relationships, and the importance of creating and celebrating moments…moments, after all, can become cherished memories. I’ve also talked about the choices we face — and the ones we make — about the way we ultimately live each day. This week’s blog only serves to underscore, bold, and italicize these points.
Yesterday, Century Village in Boca Raton, Florida witnessed — maybe for the first time ever — a couple celebrate a seventy-fifth wedding anniversary. The two special people are my grandparents. While I wrote about them on Thanksgiving Day (the actual date of the anniversary) the family was better able to assemble a month after the fact, during the winter holiday vacations, to celebrate in full force. As a matter of fact, forty-eight of the fifty-four “immediate family” members flew in from Boston, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and even Israel. From the Shabbat morning service at the synagogue to the dinner and dancing that followed in the evening, family and close friends clamored in to bask in the miracle of such a rare milestone.
In truth, the vast majority of us will not achieve what my grandparents have. Not in the longevity of their lives or marriage; not in the number of their offspring or fifth generation status; and not in the wisdom they’ve amassed or miracles they’ve experienced over the past century. This realty could be upsetting, daunting, and even depressing. It could provoke feelings of inadequacy. But, in my opinion, the large numbers and accumulation of years are not the important lessons here. Not by a long-shot.
Here’s what I know for sure. My grandparents made each and every one of us feel counted. They taught us right from wrong; what’s expected. We learned that every moment of every relationship should be nurtured, appreciated, and treasured. Opportunities to spend time with loved-ones should not be squandered or wasted with petty foolishness. They epitomized the notion that open and honest communication can open the door to new understandings and even forgiveness. And, while there’s nothing better than celebrating holidays or special events with family in person, today’s technologies can offer the next best thing. It’s the thought — the gesture — that counts most.
My grandparents and our family are far from perfect. We have plenty of issues; just like others do. But we work hard on coming together to honor and respect the two people whose opinions matter most to each of us. Yesterday we toasted Baba and Zaydie and their seventy-fifth wedding anniversary. Today we look forward to the next occasion we all can celebrate with them. May there be many more to come.