My beautiful grandparents united in marriage on December 17, 1966. This December, they will celebrate their 51st wedding anniversary.
Their relationship has formed a beautiful family since then — four children, one who was tragically lost in a car accident at 19 years old; eight grandchildren — one who has graduated from college, four who are currently enrolled in college, one who is a senior in high school, one who is a sophomore in high school, and one who is a sixth grader.
Through their marriage, they have taught me many lessons. They've shown me that love is eternal. Love exists —and it is beautiful. Love is difficult, messy, and is followed by unexpected twists and turns. But love is also patience, listening, making sure you're on the same page as your significant other constantly, and always, always supporting them.
Their love is a flame, and despite the tragedies they've been put through and the hardships they've encountered, their flame is brightly burning.
My grandpa once told me, "I just miss her every time I don't see her."
My grandma has told me for as long as I can remember, "find a man like your grandpa." That's exactly what I plan to do.
Love is working together every single day to provide for the other.
Love is holding hands wherever you go — no matter what.
Love is matching every day — whether it's the same color, same T-shirt, or same coat.
Love is knowing exactly what to order the other while they're not present and being correct.
Love is raising three beautiful daughters to be like you — confident, sassy, and full of love. Raising my mother to be who she is today is something I'll never be able to thank you enough for.
Love is owning a coffee shop for 15 years, titled TJ's, made from your two initials together, and waking up every morning to work together to provide for the residents of your town. And never once complaining.
Love is never yelling — I've never once heard my Grandparents yell at anyone, especially at each other.
Love is giving up the only chair in the room so the other can get off their legs for a few seconds.
Love is waking up in the morning with a fresh pot of coffee and a "Hello, dear."
Love is constantly smiling, constantly making the other laugh, constantly making them feel comfortable.
Love is knowing your wife won't finish the chocolate malt she asked for but ordering it anyway.
Love is caring. Love is kind. Love is incredible.
I've been blessed my whole life to have Grandparents who constantly show me what love is truly like. I will never settle for anyone who is not my Grandfather — ready to work without complaint, regardless of the situation.
A man like my Grandfather, who has calluses deep into his hands from never stopping what he loves to do. A man who is stronger than anyone I know, but has a heart of absolute gold.
To my Grandparents,
Thank you for cherishing each other the way every couple should. The generations ahead of you need the constant reminder of what love is truly like. Thank you for showing your grandkids that they deserve no less than a man like Grandpa; and a woman as kind-hearted as Grandma.
I love you two more than I can ever express.