Dear Mom and Dad,

This November 24th marked your silver anniversary, a.k.a. 25 years together. A quarter of a century. Four more years than I’ve even been alive. It’s insane. As you know, I’m an extremely sappy and emotional person just like both of you (especially Dad), so I felt the need to commemorate this milestone with a letter.

One of my favorite Brian and Eileen stories is the one of how you met. The first thing that brought you together was your shared interest in science. On your first day of classes at Fairfield University, you both stood outside of your biology lab anxiously waiting to go inside. I’m sure Dad was hoping that he would get to cut up an animal carcass or two while Mom was probably concerned about whether her sandals looked cute with her dress or not. Naturally, Dad (a self-proclaimed ladies man) decided to break the silence with what he surely thought would be a great pick-up line: “You know you’re not allowed to wear open-toed shoes in the lab, right?”

Mom, I’m not sure that I would have been able to respond an introduction like that without an eye roll, but I’m so glad that you were. Hours later, Dad called his parents and said, “Mom, I met her.”

“Who?” she asked. “What are you talking about?”

“The girl I’m going to marry.”

“Jesus, Brian. Get a grip.”

Shockingly though, you were right. A cheesy one-liner turned into a strong friendship that was able to get you through the nightmare of being pre-med students. Not surprisingly, your first ever “date” was attending a party with other biology majors that you say was a “joke” and you “knew you were cooler than everyone there.” I’m not saying I don’t believe that you were, but I’m not going to say I do, either.

You dated for six years and finally got married on November 24, 1990 in Short Hills, NJ. Up until now, the story of your relationship probably just sounds like a flawlessly scripted rom-com, but I know that it wasn’t always picture perfect.

It couldn’t have been easy to date while Dad was in med school and money was tighter than his waistband on spaghetti night, but somehow you managed. Uprooting your lives to move to Miami for Dad’s residency was probably not ideal either, especially when Mom found out she was pregnant with her future favorite child (me). I imagine the Florida heat is not conducive to pregnancy. However, all of the struggles you faced as you entered the real world together only made your relationship stronger.

This past Thanksgiving, Dad made a toast about one of the things he is most thankful for: the fact that he has been married for 25 years and doesn’t just love his wife; he likes her, too. You are not just a couple. You are genuinely each other’s best friends and have been for over 31 years, and I think that’s why you work so well. Sure, you bicker about the fact that Mom hasn’t cooked dinner since last Tuesday or complain about Dad’s incredibly amplified and never-ending guitar solos emanating from the basement. You might always argue about who takes longer to get ready (even though the answer is always neither of you because it’s your son), but I think I can count on a single hand the amount of times I’ve seen you fight about something serious, and I think that is pretty incredible.

You’ve both taught me a lot of things over the years, but the most important thing I’ve learned from you is what love actually looks like and that it isn’t an effortless or passive thing. Marriage is something that both people need to actively work on every day, and I think that a lot of people fail to recognize that. I truly admire how committed you both are to your relationship and to our family, and I know that I’m extremely blessed to have you as parents. Your relationship is my model for what marriage should be, and because of this, I refuse to settle for anything less than the way you guys still look at each other after over three decades togethers.

Cheers to 25 years and a zillion more.