Giving special gifts on specific anniversaries isn’t a new concept. It dates back to the Middle Ages, where underlying superstitions and beliefs corresponded with giving gifts to welcome good luck or ward off the bad.
When my brother once asked our dad what was the best decision he ever made, Dad said, “I married your mother.” Our parents were married for sixty-four years before his Alzheimer’s and her dementia set in, and their anniversary celebrations were usually low key and private. They enjoyed going out for dinner, usually with family, and holding hands as they read their anniversary cards and talked about favorite memories.
This summer Jim and I celebrate our 30th anniversary, and traditionally the gift for the 30th is the pearl. Our daughter—a wonderful independently creative gift maker—gave us a unique set of anniversary chairs this year. Full-heart, headless chairs.
Last year she painted Picasso-type art chairs with Picasso quotes for us.
This year’s chairs wear tee-shirts, jeans, Keene walking sandals (for me) and hiking boots (for Jim), and are stuffed with multiple pillows that make these the most comfortable, form-fitting chairs ever.
For us, it’s not expensive gifts, fancy dinners out or celebrations that make an anniversary special. It’s being with each other and the family we love dearly, seeing their smiling faces around the table, and hearing everyone share favorite memories. Like my parents, we would title these celebrations by borrowing another title: “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
Tucked among greeting card-type romantic verses, we’ve found a sentiment by writer and comedian Rita Rudner that makes us laugh. “It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.” And a favorite toast for weddings and anniversaries is by sci-fi writer Robert Heinlein: “May you live as long as you wish and love as long as you live.”
Today our hearts are full, grateful for love, marriage, family, friends, and wonderful dads. And anniversaries with traditional pearls or non-traditional headless chairs.