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Because 30 Means Something

August 17, 2012

Growing up, this is undoubtedly what I thought true love was like:

You know you watched that with an unsuspecting grin on your face. Yeah, me too. It still gets me every time. And I can still quote it, verbatim, as clearly as I could during high school – after all those times I replayed that episode over and over again from my recorded VHS tape.

I thought surely, surely true love was as overwhelming and dramatic as Joey and Pacey taking off on a boat for three months. Surely, when I found my true love I’d leave everything behind, run down a dock, and willingly sail off into the sunset without a toothbrush or change of clothes. Surely, love would be that all-consuming.

Turns out, real life love stories are actually rather drama-less. Or at least the good ones are. Real life love stays on the mainland with clean clothes, occasional date nights, and arguments about who accidentally left the bathroom sink dripping. Oddly enough, the love stories of my teenage fantasies were never stories that lasted. The characters always broke up and ended their romance with as much heated passion as they began it. Oddly enough, it’s our quirky, mundane real life love stories that last. It’s reality that stands the test of time.

Take my parents, for example.

My parents just celebrated their 30 year wedding anniversary a few months ago. And for all intents and purposes, my parents are weird people. In the most loving and accepting way possible, they’re both pretty weird to have spent the past 30 years making their marriage work, being willing to change with the other person, and redefining commitment as new life stages came. They’re pretty weird to have survived each other that long. My parents play golf and they love soccer and Lord knows they’re a little too obsessed with our two dogs. I’ve seen them fight and make each other laugh and tell one another they’re really annoying. I’ve seen them host holiday parties and hold hands and (attempt) to cook together (that one doesn’t always turn out so well). I’ve seen them together for a long time. I’ve seen them together for a good part of their 30 years.

And 30 means something.

My mom recently sent me a picture of she and my dad during their anniversary trip to Europe. They’re standing together in some food-to-die-for restaurant, both looking lovely and well dressed in their “evening out” attire. They definitely classed it up. It’s a nice photo of them. It really is.

But when you take away my mom’s cute dress and my dad’s sport coat and the elegant scenery behind them, you just get two people after 30 years – still standing. Together. You get a team. You get a partnership. You get all the realities of real life love that continues to stand the test of time. You get a marriage.

And 30 means something.

Perhaps as I sit here in my own real life love story, that is all that I want. I don’t want the dock and the boat and the frantic declaration of love before the person I want to be with sails in the opposite direction. Perhaps I want something more simple, yet remarkably more miraculous, than that.

Perhaps I want a photograph to show my husband and I still standing together after all that time.

Perhaps I want my own 30 years.

Perhaps I want it to mean something.

And perhaps it will.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Cassie Siler permalink
    August 17, 2012 5:13 pm

    Dear Lauren,
    I love everything you write.

    • August 17, 2012 6:46 pm

      Dear Cassie,
      I love you. Thank you for visiting, friend.

  2. pastordt permalink
    August 18, 2012 12:35 pm

    Lovely. Thank you. We went to Europe for our 30th, too. And you’re right 30 is important. Just like every other year of commitment, slogging through the everydayness, being fed up with each other and yet still holding hands when day is done. 47 in December.

    • August 19, 2012 9:48 am

      This comment is a lovely addition to the post – even in just a few sentences you give such a realistic and loving picture of marriage. “Slogging through the everydayness” – perfect! Congratulations on your 47 years in December!

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