Anniversaries, Generations, Traditions

Mom and Dad Wedding Photo


This week I had to dig through some photos to find a wedding photo of my parents for another project I’m involved with. Luckily, I had scanned this photo to display on the cake table during our wedding, along with wedding photos of my and Chad’s grandparents. This week is also my parents’ wedding anniversary, so it was kind of fun to find this photo and reflect a little bit.

By the time they were my age, my dad had bought a ton of land from his dad and was farming away. My mom was nursing full time and probably going to school. I was almost two.

Our lives look so different. I wonder if they felt that way about their parents when they were my age. I wonder if they even had the time to reflect and think about the generational differences that seep between the cracks.

Dave and Helen wedding photo

These are my mom’s parents on their wedding day. My grandma Helen carried a Bible rather than a bouquet, and though you can’t see it, she’s wearing a Mennonite head covering. Her husband, my pappy Dave, grew up Amish, but chose not to join the Amish church.

I don’t feel like I’ve shared a ton about my background here, because it’s hard to explain. See, on the cake table at my wedding, I had this photo of my parents, this photo of my mom’s parents, photos of Chad’s parents and grandparents on their wedding days, and a photo of my dad’s parents, taken within the past 30 years or so. We couldn’t find a wedding photo of them, most likely because there never were any.

I’m ethnically Amish-Mennonite on both sides, yet with every generation things seem to loosen up a bit. For one reason or another, each generation assimilates a little more. Focuses less on the external markings of the community and more on the inward posture of the heart. Between that and the natural inclination of children to leave the conservative church of their parents for a less rule-bound Mennonite or nondenominational church, people can look very different, even within families.

Then one day, you find yourself a web developer and writer living in a city with a pixie cut and a nose ring, wondering about the space between generations and traditions and how things get passed along from parent to child.