Traditionally we visit the graves of beloved family who have gone on before, but this year we celebrated in an entirely different way. This Memorial Day weekend, our 23-year-old son married his college sweetheart, so we as parents are in a mood of reflection.
First, at our age we finally understand the passage of time and the cycle of birth and death which is an amazing part of God's plan for humanity.
Watching any wedding takes us back to the day of our own marriage. Like our son, we were married in our twenties, hardly understanding the magnitude of the commitment spoken in the words, "for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health."
Reliving the moment, we also privately in our hearts renewed our own vows.
But at a child's wedding, memories of the years of parenting flood your mind. In preparing for a slide show of pictures featuring our son, we dusted off old albums and poured through stuffed photo boxes, reliving the days of his youth.
Photographs capturing the t-ball games, birthday parties, vacations and Christmas holidays are special. But the pictures we like the most now focus on family members. The scenes of Hawaii, Europe and Disneyland are just ok, compared to the smiles of joy, adorable dress-up costumes and special moments that we can never re-create.
The interesting aspect of these memories is the good times far overpower whatever difficulties we faced.
We have suffered through unemployment, business failure, and repeated illnesses. Long forgotten are the sleepless nights and empty checkbook. Those memories are a small shadow compared to the joy of the blessings you receive in parenting a child to adulthood.
And it is gratifying to see the cycle continue. When we set out as parents we had the goal of transmitting the traditional values of hard work, reliance on God, and commitment to others. We see all of these values in our son as well as his new bride.
Life can be very tough. It is easy to focus on the problems of America, and forget about the blessings. But that's what we all need to do. In future years, today's tough economy and trouble with the mortgage will be a distant recollection. Instead, what will remain are the warm memories of a small child snuggled in our lap, the hot sun at the baseball game where we saw our son's first hit, and the joyous smiles at his wedding.
God bless the heroic individuals who gave their lives for liberty so we canremember these blessings and joy. God Bless America.
©2011 Floyd and Mary Beth Brown. The Browns are bestselling authors and speakers. Floyd is also president of the Western Center for Journalism. His latest book is "Killing Wealth, Freeing Wealth," from WND Books.