Fifty years is an incredibly long time. It’s five times a decade and half a century. It’s the number of years my grandparents have been living as a married couple, arguing constantly and lovingly and the number of years I would love to do the same. Fifty years is an amazing accomplishment.
Last weekend I escaped the Halloween trick-or-treaters and flew off to Spain to attend my grandparents’ bodas de oro (Golden Anniversary). It was a much awaited event that we’d been planning and joking about for years, teasing my grandmother with suggestions that she dress in white and re-walk the aisle whilst my grandfather assured us that he probably wouldn’t make it. He did. Even in their old age and deteriorating health they made it to fifty years and I am proud of them both perhaps even a little jealous.
Just watching them re-exchange their wedding rings and peck each other on the lips made me imagine myself in many years time doing the same. I wonder if they remember their grandparents anniversaries’ and when I am in the same position, will I remember theirs? What about my grandchildren, will they remember mine? All it takes is a few generations worth of family together in celebration, to shrink the timeline of my existence and those intertwined, into the relatively tiny space that is my head as I try to grasp the complicated concept of time. All those different times, beginning and ending, co-existing and separating, and generally making my head ache in confusion.
I hope that after all that internal questioning I actually manage to make it to fifty years of marriage. It would be a terrible disappointment if I were to annoy my husband to an early grave unless I were to consider celebrating in solitude which would be incredibly disrespectful to the deceased. Then, there is the possibility that he annoys me to divorce however it seems unlikely as I will endure just about anything to get my Golden Anniversary. Divorce is not an option.
I want to be able to share the joy of a fruitful fifty years, surrounded by a family built on love. Gather them all around for group photos even as they begin to bore and their cheeks begin to ache. Cry with tears of laughter as a surprise cake is brought in, accompanied by a merry jingle and topped of with a pair of bobbing dolls, magnetically joined at the lips. Toast to fifty long years I will never regret and then when all is silent, cry “long live the couple!”