Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Mr and Mrs Habit

Thirty-seven years ago today, my parents got all gussied up and tied the knot in a little Maronite Catholic Church in Detroit, Michigan. To save you the math: 1969.

To do anything in dowtown Detroit in 1969 you had to have two things: guts and optimism. Over the course of thirty-seven years my folks have drawn bucketfuls of both.

Two kids, one of them gay. Sixteen changes of address in eleven states. Three family car trips across North America. Temporary duty assignments, cramped base housing. School tuition, college tuition, lessons in tennis and oil painting. Long division lessons on the kitchen table. First Communions, Cub Scout camp. Inept moving companies, uniforms to iron, dinners to cook, an exploding Plymouth Scamp, Christmas on a shoestring, birthdays on a shoestring, Disneyland on a shoestring, nutty relatives, two senior proms, tomato soup on the kitchen ceiling. And the ever-present knowledge that no matter how comfortable we might be, the next day word might come from the Air Force that it was time to pack it all up.

Never once, never once, did I hear them complain. Never once did I feel poor. Never once did I worry about where the future would take us. With my parents in charge, my sister and I knew things would be fine.

They taught us to hit the ground running, to keep our chins up, and to watch our asses. They taught us guts and optimism, and they're still teaching us.

They were both shockingly young in 1969. Young enough that if the wedding were happening today, people would shake their heads and make bleak predictions.

Hah.

Ladies and gentlemen, my parents. A tribute to the power of guts and optimism.



Oh, and love.

52 comments:

pacalaga said...

Happy Anniversary, Mr. and Mrs. Habit! I cyber-toast your union and wish you many many more years of happiness. Franklin, that was a lovely tribute, and please tell your mother that her wedding gown is incredibly stunning.

Inky said...

Your entry is beautiful, Franklin. Thank you for helping me remember the power of guts, love and optimism.

Happy Anniversary to the peeps!!

Rabbitch said...

You made me tear up a bit. Thank you.

Happy Anniversary to them.

CatBookMom said...

That's a lovely tribute to your parents. I hope they are as proud of you as you are of them. To bring up kids with love and understanding and a positive sense of self-worth is about the best thing parents can do.

knit chick said...

What a beautiful tribute, Franklin. They did a spectacular job of parenting.

Happy Anniversary, Mr. and Mrs. Habit.

Juliette said...

I really liked this entry. Thanks.

Christina said...

Now that is a blog entry to make yer parents proud. What a good son you are! Happy Anniversary, Mr. and Mrs. Habit.

All the Way With Knitting said...

Franklin you look like your Dad..I am praying the exploding thing was a car ? That sounds like a good life ,after all it's love that counts .Not at all sure 1969 was a good time to be in the military but you said nothing about a certain conflict so hope Dad avoided it .Happy Anniversary to your folks.

Marie said...

What a tribute and what a wonderful son. I hope my kids remember us like that with all that love. It is my anniversary today and I hope I last as long as your parents.

Norskybear said...

What a great tribute to your parents!

The coincidences are a little scary, Franklin. My parents were married in 1969. Gay son and a daughter. 4 years on Minot AFB, followed by Mountain Home AFB and ending with the AFB near Roswell. We could have been in the same class had the postings worked out.

Aidan said...

I can hardly type...hard to see through the tears. That damend Irish bladder of mine...located right behind my eyes.

They raised a nice boy, that is plain to see.

Kirst said...

What a lovely entry. And so familiar - It's good for me to remember every now and then how well my parents got through such a tough job as raising two kids on a tight budget.

Happy Anniversary to the parents!

Leslie said...

Happy anniversary wishes (a day or so late but still sincere) to Mr. & Mrs. Habit. You seem to have raised two lovely children. Thanks to you both for the sacrifices you made to serve our country. I wish you many more happy years together.

Kit said...

That you came from good folks has been obvious for a while. Thanks for giving us details. You are right to be very proud of them. Please pass on to your parents my thanks for your presence in this world. They did very well.

Carol said...

Congratulations and best wishes to the Habits! We, of course, love them without having met them. Not the least because they raised such a talented, wonderful kid. [Insert Flintstones video here: Happy anniversa-ree....]

Mom said...

Frank (Franklin) Thanks you for remembering all the good and bad times we had over the years. We always seem to land on our feet know matter what was thrown our way. We were really lucky to have two great kids that never gave us any problems (maybe a few). It has been a wonderful 37 years and I hope that we will have many many more.

Paul said...

Happy Anniversary to Mr. & Mrs. Habit! Lovely post, Franklin. Thank you.

jude said...

A wonderful tribute to your parents. You must be proud of them, I'm sure they are of you.

Ann said...

Happy Day to the 'rents, and thank you forthe lovely tribute.

My FSM, they're married only one year longer than I! OMG!

Wee Quantum Furball said...

Happy Anniversary to your parents. Surprising how similar things sound in this post...with the exception of one of us being gay (and the year of the marriage), it could have been my story.

My parents were 17 and 19 when they got married in 1963. This last March, they celebrated 43 years together. They are my inspiration, my foundation, and my sanctuary.

Seeing that there are other parents out there with that same gift, that same inner strength to stick through the times when they'd have rather thrown their hands up...It's inspiring and uplifting.

Bless your parents for their fortitude and enduring tenacity. May they have many more love-filled years together.

Sarah said...

Happy Anniversary to Mom & Dad.

37 years is a long time and it sounds like they did it splendidly!

April said...

Being a "child of divorce" stories like this make me and the hubby KNOW that things can work out - we have the tenacity and stubborness and loads of Love!

Thank you Mr. & Mrs Habit for setting a grand example!

JoVE said...

Congrats to your parents. Hope they enjoy many more happy years together.

and did you say TWO senior proms? I bet there is a good story in there.

Cheryl said...

What a sweet post. Your parents did a wonderful job with their children. It's nice to hear of happy people and happy children. Many Blessings to the both of them!

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary to your parents. My parents celebrated 37 years as well, on July 4.

These examples of long, mutually respectful relationships are great models for the rest of us, and show that marriages are about the love, mutual support, and commitment between the two people involved, gay or straight.

hillary said...

Happy Anniversary to your parents! As yet one more child of divorce it's always nice and affirming to hear about marriages that work.

LaurieM said...

You're a lucky son.

Anna said...

That is SO. SWEET. Reading your Mom's comment made me tear up! Happy Anniversary to the parents, and thank you Franklin. It's a pleasure to read your blog daily.

PuppyMomma said...

If I wasn't drugged right now I'd be crying. So sweet.

FiberQat said...

My congratulations to your lovely parents. It's hard enough to be married; it's much harder to be in the military and married. Be very proud Mom and Dad Habit. You did it right.

Ruth said...

Happy anniversary to Mr. and Mrs. Habit! Sounds like they live right.

Vicky from Vancouver said...

Happy anniversary to Mr and Mrs Habit, and I wish you many years of loving companionship ahead.

Lucia said...

Sniffle. Happy anniversary, dear Habits. Great dress.

Jon said...

{sniff}

That's just bootyfull...Are you saying you're gay? Just trying to clarify...{giggle}

Anonymous said...

VERY nice posting, Franklin!

Your sister Sue also posted a lovely tribute on her blog.

I wish I had had parents like yours. But then again, parents like yours come along only once. You and Sue were and are and will be continually blessed by their guidance and ideals.

anne marie in philly

Milinda said...

Happy Anniversary, Mr & Mrs Habit.

Franklin, that was beautiful.

David said...

Aww! My folks are still together, too, after over 40 years of marriage.

And unless you were born out of wedlock, you are a lot younger than I realized.

obxparrot said...

What a great expression of your thoughts/feelings about your parents! Congratulations to them on their anniversary.

And, thanks for helping me to bring us some great memories. As a Army brat, I could relate to nearly everything you said. My parents have been deceased for several years now, but through your comments, I remember many wonderful things about them and my upbringing. You are truly a legacy to their life.

roz said...

This is great writing (better than the Dolores stuff.)

Happy anniversary to your parents. They sound amazing.

Sean said...

Never complaining? WOW!!! Certainly not my parents!

Nice story. No wonder you're such a nice guy...you have nice parents.

Katie in Seattle said...

Franklin, this was a wonderful post. Your blog has become one of my must-reads. Your parents gifted you not only with guts and optimism (and love) but also with the stimulation and encouragement of a lively intellect and sense of humor.

Colleen said...

Congratulations to your parents. Your mother obviously has impeccable taste - I ADORE her dress (which is extremely hard to say about just all wedding dresses from 1969).

Joy said...

That's a lovely tribute to your parents, Franklin. Once again, I'm so glad I found your blog. I was struck by the fact that your parents had financial problems. With all the money the U.S. spends on the military, why is it that we don't pay our servicemen and women enough to support their families? I've read that many people in the military are eligible for food stamps. Sad.

ann said...

L'chaim! to your parents and their kids!
My parental units were doing the same thing on this day oh those many years ago, except in DC and they were Navy.

Catherine said...

Happy anniversary to Mr. and Mrs. Habit. They're a handsome couple, indeed. Love the gardenias in Mom's bouquet.

Marilyn said...

A very happy anniversary to your parents. I was also married in 1969 to a service guy. It was a very good year for marriages, I guess. Ma and Pa Habit, you should be incredibly proud of your accomplishments--great marriage and great kids.

God, 37 years. Where did that time go?

Mel said...

A very nice tribute. I like that you and Sue had "Then" & "Now" photos (or "Now" & "Then", as I read hers first). It'll be 38 years for my parents next month. It's scary to look at photos of my father back then and realize that I could (theoretically, had I started really young) have a child that age now.

Alyssa said...

What a nice post! I love hearing about happy couples.

Oh, and any chance you will put the cute little "it itches" cartoon on a shirt anytime soon?

Anonymous said...

Lovely loving and lovable... congratulations on their success in their marriage AND their very loving son...

AngeliasKnitting said...

Happy Anniversary to your parents! You wrote a beautiful tribute!

My father is retired Navy, so I feel you on the poorness and the moving (I went to 3 schools for third grade).

brewerburns said...

Congratulations, to Mr. and Mrs. Habit. Lovely tribute to your parents.

Agen Bola Terpercaya said...

I precisely had to appreciate you yet again. I do not know the things that I might have implemented without the creative ideas provided by you about such area. It has been the depressing matter in my circumstances, however , spending time with this specialised form you resolved the issue made me to cry with gladness. I am just grateful for your advice as well as sincerely hope you comprehend what a great job you're providing educating the mediocre ones by way of your blog post. More than likely you have never encountered any of us.