Thursday, October 1, 2015

Fifty Years

My in laws recently celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. Six children (three still living), two grandsons (so far), and many pets have marked their half century as man and wife.

While many well-to-do couples hold a lavish celebration that usually eclipses the cost and guest count of their original wedding, complete with renewal of vows, hotel ballrooms and all attendant finery, my in-laws are simple and unassuming and marked the momentous occasion by going to Mass and then coming to our apartment for a seafood dinner.

My sister-in-law flew in for the week, but the brother-in-law I have not yet met could not as he has very recently become a new father.

Instead of an audio visual presentation of decades' worth of old photos, speeches by the children and song and dance numbers by the grandchildren, we had a quiet meal catching up on each other's news and conducting a tutorial on how to create photo collages for posting on social media. 

Little A was comfortable as he could stand up, walk around and do what he pleased (which mainly consisted of jumping on our bed as there was no one to keep telling him off). It was the first time in about six years that this same bunch of people was gathered around our table, and we hope the next time is not so long in coming, and more regularly. 

Big A's is the typical example of the Filipino diaspora family, with two of three children living and working abroad, and all three sharing the cost of keeping their parents' retired lives comfortable. It's the "old style" way, because with the millennial workforce these days, often the parents need to keep providing, even well into retirement age, while the children (in their twenties now) lead charmed lives and spend all they earn (if, in fact, they work) on themselves.  

There are still young people who know the value of hard work, enjoying their comforts but still fending for themselves in the world. But the disparity in lifestyle and values from the last three generations is amazing, and something we hope changes for the better by the time Little A is all grown up. 

Still, this was a celebration, for fifty years of marriage is absolutely nothing to sneeze at, and I can only hope that Big A and I reach that milestone still healthy and happy together.

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