Photo by: Michele Fried

Then and Now

Photo by: Michele Fried

I looked in the mirror the other day.

Really looked.

I noticed the years on my face. I’m not complaining just remarking that I really took a look at the lines, creases, even structure that just seems different.

Chuck and I met when we were teenagers and spent most of our undergraduate years as a couple, marrying in June 1986.

This month we celebrate 30 years of marriage.

We have reached this milestone just as the first of our ten children marries. It is natural to reminisce but really awesome to watch your child become engaged and plan a wedding.

As our son Jordan begins a new life with his bride, I feel like I have so much I need to tell him. How do I put into words the past 30 years and all I have learned?

At 21, Chuck and I probably had no business getting married. But just today I read a quote that says, “I am not only going to grow old with you, I grew up with you.” We have been together well over half our lives. I honestly can’t remember much without him.

At 22, we adopted our first child and seven month after that we learned I was pregnant. Today as a parent of children ages 16 years and up, I can readily admit that being a young parent is different then parenting in your fifties. However different it may be, I love parenting as much as I did the moment I was given the privilege to do so.

I cannot describe marriage outside of parenting as we chose to combine these paths so quickly. Parenthood continues to teach us so much. It was and continues to be the way we have grown up together — navigating through the tall grass, the steep mountains and deep valleys.

It is because of parenthood that we learned to laugh and communicate better.

It is because of parenthood that we feel most exhausted emotionally but yet find the fuel that keeps us going.

Maybe it is our love, commitment, pride, gratitude, or because the engine needs to keep moving forward that we are still looking forward to many more anniversaries and milestones. I don’t have the magic ingredients to know how we reached this day, happy, slightly tired, looking forward to the future and enjoying right now.

In my opinion, Flexibility, Unconditional Commitment, and Humor are the key ingredients that we live by.

Each birthday or anniversary or milestone event that I have experienced personally and professionally, fill me with pride. I love the journey. I love the fact that I am learning everyday and that I still have so much to learn and navigate. I love the fact that I can enjoy that I also have so much experience whether it is through marriage, parenting, adoption, or running an organization.

So as we celebrate a 30th anniversary and a wedding, as we continue to parent the last of our children still at home, and navigate being parents to adult children, and fill the new role of mother-in-law and father-in-law, and one day grandparents… I will continue to look in the mirror and see how far I have come and remember the journey… and smile.

When Michele Fried founded Adoption STAR in 2000, she was using her entrepreneurial skills for a precious enterprise: she wanted to create forever families. Ten children later, Michele’s most important job is parenting. She frequently writes and speaks about adoption and parenthood You can read more of her at her Blog, Michele Fried. You can also follow Michele on Facebook, and Twitter.

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