To my parents

Yester­day, we were cel­e­brat­ing my par­ents’ 60th wed­ding anniver­sary. For the occa­sion, I wrote the fol­low­ing text.

Ah, here we are again, on this day blessed with an impor­tant anniver­sary ! Two days ago, you offi­cial­ly cel­e­brat­ed six­ty years of liv­ing together.

I must admit that it took me a long time to start writ­ing this text. I reread what I wrote to you for the 40th, 45th, and then 50th. Apart from find­ing myself quite good, it did­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly give me the courage to break through the blank page. What more can we say, indeed ?

Per­haps just one word, which I have heard many times when I told peo­ple around me that we were cel­e­brat­ing your six­ti­eth. Wow !

We may live longer in our mod­ern soci­eties where every­thing seems so ephemer­al and with­out mem­o­ries, but we have not yet got­ten used to think­ing that a rela­tion­ship can last all this time…

Six­ty years ago, both of you swore to be there for each oth­er, in the best, in the worst and in the in-between that all the actions and ges­tures of every­day life rep­re­sent. What has changed since then ? I went back to the fam­i­ly site to review the pic­tures from that time. I then thought to myself that time, this long time of six­ty years, did not seem to have changed.

Look­ing at this pic­ture before the wed­ding, where, sit­ting on the couch, all dressed up in hap­pi­ness, Mom held the hand of her future, also well dressed, in a tie jack­et, please. She was hap­py, while the man laughed his head off, prob­a­bly proud of hav­ing said some­thing stu­pid again.

That has­n’t real­ly changed, has it ?

When, about fif­teen years lat­er, in this oth­er pho­to, Mom laughs hearti­ly, her man at her side. What else had he said, what did she remember ?

And the rest, all these years, should we name them all ? It seems to me that it is always the same moment, even if, of course, I was not there.

Who led who into this mess ? By reread­ing the mag­nif­i­cent text that Dad wrote for us on the 45th, I under­stand that you were strong, inde­pen­dent and it is in this mutu­al respect that you start­ed and con­tin­ued the adven­ture. By mutu­al agree­ment, in this promise that the laugh­ter would con­tin­ue, that strength is in the union and con­sent of each day to live together.

This is the great­est les­son we have learned and which has con­stant­ly moti­vat­ed me, you see, in every­thing I have writ­ten and thought about. Even I, who am rel­a­tive­ly alone in life, try to build around me this same cli­mate of kind­ness, for it alone over­comes and nour­ish­es existence.

Love is made of com­pan­ion­ship, cross­ing the desert, rest­ing in oases. It is made of hard work, patient hard work, just as it is made up of a string of chil­dren and achieve­ments. Around you tonight, the jour­ney of this incur­able hap­pi­ness, hap­pi­ness result­ing from this laugh­ter to be built and bit­ten into life. They’re all stand­ing there think­ing, “wow!” I want to be like them when I’m old, old like them…

But you, you’re not old, are you ? You two are togeth­er, camped out in life.

I guess you do more often than before the review. Dad told us twen­ty years ago and he still tells us again. He is hap­py to have his chil­dren, grand­chil­dren and great-grand­chil­dren in front of him, all smarter than each oth­er. I know how to live this same ado­ra­tion, to regret per­haps not see­ing us more often, because the sense of fam­i­ly is in her heart and in her veins. We have inher­it­ed from both of you our desire to go fur­ther, to bite into life.

And I still know how to call you all the beau­ti­ful words of love and also to tease you con­stant­ly. Your mad­ness, your love, your friend­ship is con­stant­ly there, as it was at the begin­ning. Each year now becomes more and more sig­nif­i­cant for both you and us. You have to be real­ly crazy to love, real­ly in love to be crazy, real­ly bud­dy to be always there, hand in hand, feed­ing on the hap­pi­ness of this fer­tile life.

Wow ! I can only say that, too. I repeat I have heard it from friends and col­leagues in Mon­tre­al, France, Alge­ria, and Brazil. It’s a rare fact, six­ty years old, some­thing you cer­tain­ly did­n’t suspect.

And I dare to bet from the bot­tom of my heart, what am I say­ing, from my womb as a lit­tle boy, that I will still be here a long time before you to tell you oth­er beau­ti­ful sto­ries on the way to your immense love.

In your for­ti­eth year, you remem­ber, we, your chil­dren, had stood in front of you to bless you. I guess it brought you luck. I would invite Diane, France, Dominique, and Marie to join me.

Here we are again before you, putting our hands on your heart, we are the same, we are the fruit of your love and this love has grown, you see it in this room. All this has not changed, and our love is immutable.

As Fer­land used to sing : it’s a good thing we have…

And as the young old peo­ple say : hey, respect…

Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to go back to tra­di­tion. It was cus­tom­ary, and it still is a lit­tle bit cus­tom­ary, on New Year’s Day to ask the patri­archs to give us their bless­ing. It is up to the eldest, I think, to make the request.

Diane ?

My dear par­ents, would you have the kind­ness of us to bless us ?