Whenever we travel to a coastal location with the potential for a beautiful sunset, I become obsessed with arranging my evening for optimal sunset viewing. It’s become something of a family joke but mostly they humor me and comply. On a whim, we spent the last week of December on the beautiful Big Island of Hawaii, where my husband’s mother was born and many of his relatives still reside.
On our first morning there, I had a bit of an epiphany. Sunrise, though often not as dramatic as a pink and orange-hued sunset, is just as big a draw. It’s the promise of a new start. The time of day when my to-do list still seems approachable. Just as many of us resolve to improve ourselves or set new goals at the start of a new year, the early morning is like a new year to me every single day.
While we were in Hawaii watching the sun rise and set, my parents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. When we returned from Hawaii, we had a celebration to commemorate that major milestone. 60 years married. Holy cow. That’s an accomplishment that makes you wonder – how did they do that?
Perhaps their marital success has something to do with sunrises and sunsets. When I was a little girl one of the things I remember most was my parents nightly ritual when my dad came home from work. They went into their bedroom (door open) and each sat on their respective chairs (mama bear’s chair and papa bear’s chair) and talked. They might not have been watching the sunset but the effect was the same – they took a moment to connect and reflect.
As for the sunrise, well I have to believe that each day still brings them the promise of something new. My mom went as far as to say that she thinks they have become better friends in the last 15 years than ever before – travelling together and nearly being attached at the hip. At the age of 86 and 84, they are still busy planning their next European adventure.
They thoroughly enjoyed the celebration we prepared for them, especially our mock vow renewal ceremony brilliantly conducted by my brother who also wrote them a song for the occasion, entitled No One But You. Here’s a link to the song and the lyrics are included below.
After the pomp and circumstance, we served a simple but yummy spread of New York style deli food, catered by Wise Sons Deli in San Francisco. The food evoked memories of all the years they lived in or near New York City. For dessert, we served a platter of babka and a luscious strawberry whipped cream cake topped with a young bride and groom topper. Tacky and it couldn’t have been more perfect.
As we all forge on into 2014, may each sunrise bring you the promise of something new and each sunset be a chance to connect with those you love, hopefully around the dinner table.
(Thanks to @dormantchef, @gregorytlee, and my niece Rebecca for sharing photos!)
Lyrics of No One But You
by Garry Corman
There's no one I could wake up to
Start a day with, then make it through
No one ... but you
There's no one I would hold to me
Draw breath with endlessly
No one ... but you
No one ...
... but you were the start of me
You're the winding road through the heart of me
and you will be the final part of me
There's no time my heart's as full
No silence so comfortable
As when I'm ... with you
And when I'm...
... with you - not one regret
we're in perfect tune - a fine duet
and we ain't finished yet
There's just one who knows me best
Just one who could possess
My only heart ... that's you
Beth, this is an incredibly moving story! I'm picturing your parents sitting in their chairs connecting and sharing each day...so important to nurture a relationship in this way. I love it! What marvelous role models you had (and still have). It sounds like you celebrated in a wonderful way! Mazel tov to your parents!
Thanks Hannah - it was a wonderful evening - one that they were really just so pleased to participate in. I fear that we just don't make the time these days to stop and connect when we get home. It's such a simple thing to do but so elusive in today's always-on-the-go lifestyle.
Beautiful story, beautiful song, delicious looking food; wanted to see a photo of the babka!
Not sure why I didn't include it - it was a lovely platter of cinnamon chocolate babka! I think babka should be our next baking adventure Renee - but maybe no drinking champagne while we do it! 🙂
I love everything about this post! Such a beautiful tribute to new beginnings and to your parents enduring (and endearing) love for each other.
Enduring and endearing - well said. So glad this struck a chord with so many.
I love everything about this post from the breathtaking photos to remind of each days possibilities to tender anniversary story. Each day is a gift, isn't it?
Yes - it is. And day-to-day life so often overwhelms that perspective. By the way, the fact that you love the post, makes my day. Thanks for stopping by.
How lucky are you to still have your folks - such a beautiful post. We food writing bloggers need to write more posts about what touches us. X0 Liz
Thanks Liz - I agree. I tend to stay away from a lot of emotional things for a variety of reasons, even when I really really want to write about them. This, however, was all upside.
And yes, I am lucky that they are both alive and healthy.
Very sweet post. Congrats to all of you on a wonderful family milestone!
Thanks Carol! We had a great party for their 50th - but just couldn't help but stop and be in awe of making it to their 60th. Wow!