My parents, Chuck and Ann Moden, are celebrating their 48th wedding anniversary today. Although they have passed on, today will forever be a special day that I intend to honor and remember every year that I am alive. Beyond the gift of life, my parents taught me so much about life and love through their relationship than they probably ever imagined.

When people say "I do," they include “'til death do us part.” However, the way I see it, once you are married to your soul mate, the one true love that makes you whole and “completes” you, even death can’t separate you from your wife or husband. True, some marriages end in divorce or, behind closed doors, aren’t as “perfect” as they may appear.  I was once married, too, but in all honesty, I wasn’t married to my soul mate or what most call today "the one." I can say without a doubt, looking back at my parents' lives together, they truly were meant for eternity.

When anniversaries come around, it’s standard to celebrate another great year together. It’s tradition to throw a party on an anniversary and to celebrate all the great things that a couple may have accomplished the past year or decade or half century. However, what made my parents' marriage and love special was their ability to stay strong through all the hard times. I can’t imagine how they raised five kids in the modern era on just one salary. My father was the bread winner, and mom was the traditional (albeit busy) stay at home mom, wife and all-around homemaker. The sacrifices that they had to make to give us everything we needed never seemed to phase them. As a matter of fact, my father and mother never complained about the hard times.

I am not sure what made my mom fall in love with my dad. But if I had to guess, it would be first and foremost, his sense of humor. Things would go horribly wrong, and yet dad always found a way to make mom laugh it off. Mom most likely loved Dad's smile. Even the last few days of his life, Dad was always smiling. My mom had to be a softee for a man with intelligence. If you ever had the pleasure of speaking to my father, it wouldn’t take long to know he was a very well-educated man with a superior handle on the English language and a profound knowledge of American history and life in general. My mother had to fall in love with my father’s ability to plan and make sure he was ready for any unpredicted setback. Perhaps, what truly drew my mom to my dad, was his love for children. No matter what was wrong or failing for Dad, he made sure we kids had what we needed and that we were the priority.

So what made Dad fall in love with Mom? No doubt, Dad couldn’t find a more beautiful woman than my mother. Beyond her beauty on the outside (which she passed along to my sisters) my mother was one of the most kind and caring people on Earth, almost to a fault. She never was rude, or mean or jealous or spiteful.  My mother was the ultimate stay at home mom/wife. She really turned a modest house that somehow fit seven into a home that had enough love for double that many. My father must have fallen in love with my mother’s honesty and gentle nature.

The gaps that my dad had in his personality were filled by my mother, and likewise for her. Isn’t that what it is all about? My mom and dad raised five kids that so far have turned out pretty darn good. They did it on little money and a ton of love. They helped each other up when the other would fall.  When the proverbial wolf came knocking or they were having trouble keeping up, we never knew it.

Looking back, I realize more and more how hard it was for them get by and raise a family the way they did. That is what I plan on celebrating today. Yes, we had some amazing times when my parents were alive and those things are always worthy of applause year after year. But even in their death and still this very second, my mom and dad, Chuck and Ann Moden, continue to teach me about how true love can carry you through. It is 48 years and counting that my parents have been married, and death has not parted or separated that. Their love is infinite, and when a couple that loves each other as much says" I do," it’s “I do for eternity!”

Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad!!!