It's tough to read by fireworks.
48 years ago today, my parents were married.
My mom was a very grown-up 19, and my dad a (probably slightly less) grown-up 23.
They would go on to start a family at 20 and 24, with the arrival of my brother.
I completed our little family when they were 23 and 27.
Young families were common back then, just as they still are in many places and cultures. But when I married at 37 and automatically gained a 13 year old, I'd long accepted my path was going to be different than theirs.
What I didn't want to be different than theirs? My marriage.
They are best friends. True best friends who like to spend time together, who make one another laugh and think, and who enjoy enough of the same things to not get bored after a half-century together.
They are partners. They both keep the ship afloat in their own ways, and work together to make their life happen. When the bow gets blindsided by a broad wave, they reach for one another first.
They are admirers. They compliment one another without hesitation, and I can honestly say I've never seen or heard either one make their beloved feel anything less than beautiful, handsome, clever, wise, funny... you name it.
They are realists. Yes, they squabble and argue at times, but they know that's part of what it means to be married to an imperfect person. They know how to make up. And they don't choose the nuclear option during a fight because their love has never been an arms race.
They are survivors. Of loss. Of impossibly challenging years. Of pain. Of ups and downs they weren't in control of, and maybe some they were. But they don't look at the world with battle-weary eyes. They find hope wherever they can, and hang on tight.
I've always said the kind of love I want is the kind they have: a consistent, glowing, shadow-busting, not-going-anywhere lamp you can count on in the best possible way.
Fireworks are lovely, and they have those, too. But when the show is done, you're left with smoke and darkness and the faint echo of a chemical reaction.
They wanted more.
So Reid and Judy paid up the light bill in 1970, and haven't missed a payment since.
Love you both.