Thursday, December 28, 2017

What is Love?

Today my parents are celebrating their 49th wedding anniversary. It seems insane for me to have parents who are entering their 50th year of marriage. I wasn't always a cynic, but now in my late 20s, I'm constantly wondering if marriage is Worth It. Whatever "It" is. If we look throughout history, we see hundreds of thousands of marriages that have worked (by our own personal standards of course), and marriages that haven't, (Henry VIII, am I right?).

But I've never been a cynic when it comes to Sandy and Andy. Yes, those are my parents' real names, and my mom always adds "Ain't that handy?!" Before I go on, I would like to add the disclaimer that this post is not intended to suck up to my parents. But hey, if that happens, it's an added bonus. I guess I'm writing this to alleviate my own skepticism. And to thank them for showing my siblings and niece and nephews what love is.

My parents have known each other since they were 10. First of all...that's a long time. That means they've known each other for over 60 years. Think about your longest friendship. Now imagine promising your entire life to that person. It's so daunting. And yet, somehow, they've done it. And they've done it well.

When my dad was in undergrad at Penn State he worked hard during the week so he could spend time with my mom on the weekends. When he was getting his DVM, they were married at living in Ithaca and he would have a full day of classes and studying, and always set a time limit for when he would be finished for the night. And then they would spend time together. Time Management=Love.

Not only are they husband and wife, but they are also business partners. My dad got his license to practice veterinary medicine, and in 1973 they found a farm in south central PA, and set up shop. My mom has been his office manager ever since. Answering phones, building relationships with clients, organizing client cards and files...literally anything you can imagine. My mom has the true heart of a servant, and the patience of a saint=Love.

My dad has worked so hard to provide for all of us. As a farmer, businessman and father, his first priority has always been family. I remember when I was little, he would be called out late at night to go on farm calls. I sometimes would see his tail lights going out the lane from the window in my room. My mom, sisters, and now my brother in law and niece and nephews, and myself, never wanted for anything. I feel so blessed, even in my moments of bratty, selfish behavior. The hard work and dedication of my amazing father=Love

It's not a secret that I love food. I get that love from my family 100%. Growing up, one of my favorite smells was my mom's kitchen-molasses crinkles, pumpkin pie, tuna noodle Aunt Honey's ham loaf. Hundreds of other recipes that she has passed along to my sisters. Meals were, and still are, a central part of our family. Just the other night my sister asked why stranger's baked goods didn't taste as good as the ones from our family. I replied "Because they aren't made with love." And as cheesy as it sounds, I really believe it. My mom loves to be in the kitchen, and she adds a special element to cooking, and I really think that ingredient is Love.

One thing I've noticed about Sandy and Andy is their consistent willingness to help out others. They have always donate to causes they believe in, have helped local families in need, and for heaven's sake, they adopted me, and before that they were foster parents for many years. For as long as I can remember, our home was always a warm and cozy place for our family and friends. My mom would always remind me that selflessness is a way to show love because Jesus first loved us. Charity/Hospitality= Love.

I think that as my parents enter their 50th year or marriage, I will be more intentional in how I view love and marriage. Less cynicism, and more optimism. The hope that I will be able to show love the way my parents have shown it throughout the course of their relationship.

So, here's to you J. Andrew and Sandy Lee: Thank you for loving each other and us so well. I love you guys and wish you more decades of happiness.

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