Fifty years equals 2,607 weeks. Fifty years equals 18,250 days. Fifty years equals 438,000 hours. Fifty years is a long time.
But love helps time pass quickly. So, it’s safe to say—fifty years have zoomed by for my parents.
My mom and dad recently celebrated their 50th anniversary. They've been married five decades! I’ve been around for over four of those decades, and I’ve learned a lot from them.
Of the many things my parents have taught me, three stand out.
- Value of hard work
- Keeping a clean house
Value of hard work
My parents have dabbled in real estate over the years, investing in various rental properties. As little kids, Dad had us help out around the apartments, first with picking up garbage and tidying up. He’d slip us a $1 or $2 bill here and there. For a ten-year-old back in the early '80s, that was a lot of money. You could buy a lot of freezies at ten cents a pop!
As we grew older, the jobs got bigger. I remember spending hours scraping and staining decks, painting apartments and parking lot lines, cutting grass, and regular custodial duties. Dad ended up paying a fair rate. He was always good that way.
What this taught me was the value of hard work. To earn a dollar. And I try to pass this along to my children.
“What can we do to make money, Dad?” they often ask.
One summer I had them scrape our fence to prep it for restaining. In the hot, hot sun. At the end of the first day, I threw them each a twoonie.
“That’s not a lot of money, Dad,” they complained. I guess I didn’t account for inflation. We settled on a rate of $3/hour.
“Union negotiated rate,” I joked with their mother.
Dad: Thank you for teaching me the value of hard work.
Keeping a clean house
Another thing I learned from my parents was keeping a clean house. Mom used to always be on our case to do our chores.
“Make your bed. Take off your shoes. Vacuum the house,” she’d tell us.
“Why should I make my bed when I’m just gonna mess it up again?” I complained. “When I grow up, I’m never gonna vacuum, and I’ll walk through the house in my shoes all I want.”
They'd tell me something like, “When you grow up and pay all the bills, you can do whatever you want.”
So, now I’m grown up. I pay my bills. I always take my shoes off. I vacuum regularly. And I nag my kids to do their chores.
Mom: Thank you for making sure we did our chores and for teaching us responsibility.
When I was in my early twenties, I went through some hard times. I had to quit school for a year to deal with personal problems. I was so down on myself, I became very depressed. I had to move back home to get myself straight.
Through it all, my parents supported me. They gave me time and space to figure things out. They were patient. Kind. Supportive. Generous. They showed me what true love really is. If it wasn’t for them, I can honestly say I wouldn’t be here today, sharing this story.
Through all this, I learned how to be patient. With myself, with others. With family, friends, colleagues, strangers. I’ve learned there’s no sense in getting worked up over little things.
Thank you, Mom and Dad, for teaching me patience. To focus on the real things: family, kindness, responsibility.
But the most important thing my parents showed me was love. They’re always there for me. And I will always be there for them.
Love helps time pass quickly. I guess that’s why my 43 years have zoomed by.
Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad. Wǒ ài nǐ.