Tomorrow is my parents’ anniversary. I tell you this because, while I suspect many of you don’t know my dad and mom, they’re fabulous enough that you ought to. They’re the kind of parents that other daughters of other moms and dad are jealous of, the kind of parents that are cool enough not to be embarrassing but the kind that would never call us girls their “friends,” the kind of parents that my friends and my sisters’ friends actually wanted to hang out with.
Our friends didn’t come over to see us. They came over to see our mom and dad. They’re that kind of parents.
My dad’s a Lutheran through and through. He’s a pig farmer who devours Chemnitz and Sasse and Luther . . . and The Lutheran Witness when he has time. He loves to read, and he does so for hours every night: the Wall Street Journal and the Ozark Mountaineer and Cowboys and Indians and mysteries and westerns. He loves understanding how things work and listening to bluegrass and the Fort Worth stock show and the smell of Iowa dirt clods in the spring. He loves capitalism and freedom and initiative. He loves to make Mom laugh, to make anyone laugh, to enjoy this big, robust world the Lord has given.
And he loves his daughters. There’s never a visit, a phone call, an email that doesn’t end with “I love you” and an “If you ever need anything, just call me.” He’s that kind of dad.
My mom’s an armchair theologian too. She loves her Scriptures, her Treasury of Daily Prayer, sermons by faithful Lutheran pastors. She loves her grandbabies, playing with them and cutting up their cheese sandwiches and helping them sled in the winter snow. She loves to be in her garden and out under the sun. She loves inviting people into her home, listening to them, setting pretty tables for them and cooking for them and making sure they leave with leftovers and baked goods and fresh-cut flowers. She loves taking care of my dad and rolling her eyes at him when he makes corny jokes and fixing him nachos now and then for a late-night snack.
And she loves her daughters. There’s never a situation, a story, an idea, a problem that she doesn’t hear and understand and pray about. And there’s never ever a time where she doesn’t hug us, tell us she loves us, and then hug us again.
This isn’t to say that they’re perfect. (Well, ok. They’re a little perfect. I mean, they did have us three girls.)
Ok, so they’re not perfect. I could have strangled my dad when he taught me how to drive stickshift.
Dad: “We are not going home until you learn to put this car in motion without giving me whiplash.”
Dad: “First gear.”
Me: “But . . . ”
Dad: “Clutch in.”
There’s the infamous incident where Dad refused to eat the first meal Mom made for him: tator tot casserole. (To be fair, he still refuses to eat it, and she learned never to make it again, although, to his credit, he has also learned that the phrase, “I don’t eat that” can be re-worded more tactfully and still achieve the same effect.) And the one where he realized on their honeymoon that she didn’t know how to read a map and they had no idea where in the United States they were. And . . . well, you’ll just have to come hang out with the Dorrs sometime to hear the really good ones.
Tomorrow is my parents’ anniversary. I tell you this because I think my parents have set the standard for what a Christian marriage can and ought to look like. They’re the kind of parents that make me want to get married some day, to have a joy-filled, Christ-centered, big and full marriage of my own. They’re kind of parents that will celebrate their anniversary tomorrow and be able to say to one another, and really mean it, “This is my beloved, and this is my friend” (Song of Solomon 5:16).
Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad.