I am this week at the Jersey Shore celebrating a cousin’s 50th wedding anniversary. We toasted, they talked, their children shared anecdotes, and what I realize is, it’s the little things that keep a family connected.

It’s finding that special juice that one likes and getting them one for their very own. It’s the touches. And the ability to lean a head on the other’s shoulder. It’s the whispered I love yous. And the laughs when there is chaos. And the commitment to the very simple, but not always easy act of being kind. It’s the knowing that the other is there when you need them and the knowing when to walk away in silence. It’s the big support group that surrounds the union and gives them a chance to regroup. It’s the willingness to let it all show – the tears, the laughs, and everything in between. It’s the being there for the big things and the little things too, and knowing that in 50 years it’s not all fun and games but it’s satisfying nonetheless. It actually can be mostly joy. It’s the being there for each other, the serving as witness to life’s ups and downs. And the willingness to sigh, forgive, let go and move on. It’s the daily gratitudes for the things big and small and the willingness to sometimes look beyond a singular act or mood, and see the reason behind it – be it fatigue or hunger or overwhelm. And it’s the hug that says, “I’m here when you need me.”

It’s inspiring to see a couple together this long who still feels such love for each other and who are still so demonstrative about it. And to see the trickle effect of their big love on all the people gathered here at their party, young and old. It inspires us all to love bigger, truer and to appreciate the people that are right under our noses. I want to celebrate 50 years one day. And in the meantime I’m going to try to celebrate one year, month, week, day at a time.