Hanging In There…

Today is the folks’ anniversary. After 33 years together, the happy couple is… still together.

Yeah, they’re hanging in there.  By a thread.  A frayed thread with a match lit under it. But although they fail to ever acknowledge it, neither of them could survive very long without the other person. Dad would never get the bills paid on time and mom would never have the money to pay the bills. I’ve dared them to try and they still haven’t taken the challenge. One thing is certain – without the other person, neither would have much to say (i.e. complain about).

Several friends have said their parents had come close to ending their marriage, but somehow overcame the temporary distaste for their spouse. Well, congrats to the couples still hanging in there and hats off to ones going strong without any glitches. By the way hitched couples talk, marriage isn’t easy. As Adam Sandler said while playing a role in a Saturday Night Live skit, “My father told me I should get married.  He shall rot in his grave!”

Yet with words similar to Sandler’s continuously (and more seriously) being spoken, young couples continue to tie the knot. Curious at what pops would say, I interrupted him during his latest complaining-about-mom fest and asked whether he’d recommend marriage.

He looked at me and replied, “Of course.  What else is there? No kids – spend all your time and money on yourself?  Nah…” And this is coming from a guy who greatly enjoys cars and beer. 

He admitted him and Mom may have gotten lost in raising kids and lost focus of what direction the marriage was heading until we grew up. For years, the focus switches from the spouse to the kids, mostly consulting the spouse for tips and requests regarding ways to run their family day care more efficiently.

And I must say, my parents did an outstanding job. Mom and Dad were perfect partners when it came to dealing with four kids who found the most enjoyment in causing each other pain. Mom was great at being sympathetic and enabling us to do whatever we wanted, and Dad was excellent at putting any disorder to a halt. He also mastered the tasks Mom refused to do – like pulling loose teeth and assisting in blowing our noses (with a paper towel!) which he held relentlessly on the end of our noses and repeatedly said “Blow. Again. One more time. Once more.” until every ounce of the green gook was out and the nose-end capillaries were broken. Needless to say, if you need a band-aid taken off, you knew to ask Mom.

Ma and Pa’s parenting wasn’t the only contrasting area in the relationship. They’re different in just about any way possible, so Paula Abdul must have been right – opposites attract. Or at least they did at one point.  They seem to be a bit more repellant now, but I’m betting they’ll get it figured out, come around and once again have the kind of love that people envy.

Anyway, congrats Mom and Dad, and as you’ve advised each of us at some point, hang in there. Life ain’t always a bowl of cherries.

Shootin’ the Wit is a column about everyday life that should never, ever be taken too seriously.