. . . these two youngsters promised themselves to each other. These lovely people are my parents-in-law, and they are amazing. Jim and Mary Ann have been such a blessing to me ever since I married into their family -- they have stuck it out through many trials and savored many joys through five decades together. They raised seven amazing children -- all of whom are in "helping" professions like teaching, various medical careers, and serving in ministry.
We celebrated them last Sunday with Mass and a renewal of vows at their church, followed by lunch at one of their favorite restaurants. Peter wrote and sang a song for them, and most of their kids shared stories about them. As an adoptive mom, I was especially moved when Peter's oldest sister, Lynn, spoke.
Lynn is actually Mary Ann's baby sister. Mary Ann's mother died at 42, when Lynn was only two years old. As soon as Mary Ann finished nursing school (when Lynn was 4), she and Jim became newlywed parents to Lynn. During the anniversary party, Lynn described herself as a "youngest, middle, and oldest child." She was youngest in her birth family, oldest in her "adoptive" family, and right in the middle of the 13 kids from both families.
Not many newlyweds are prepared to love sacrificially, and essentially adopt a 4-year-old. In fact, when Jim proposed, Mary Ann said, "I suppose . . . " because she wanted to first ensure that Lynn would be part of the deal! It is a testimony to both of their characters that they never thought twice about raising Lynn together. Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad. We love you so much, and pray that we will live up to the standard you've set.