by Julianna Squicciarini

For those of you who didn’t know, our parents celebrated their 26th anniversary earlier this month (the 8th, to be exact). To the average American children, parents’ anniversaries come and go with barely a second thought. Who cares, anyway? They got married – a long time ago – good for them. Right? But if you think about it seriously, you wouldn’t be here if they hadn’t. So this is an AWE-FILLED, STUPENDOUS, EARTH-SHATTERING event. Besides, as the years continue to add up, they join an ever-narrowing minority. Divorce is predominate in this country.

On that very serious note, we, the Squicciarini 5, put our heads together to figure out what to do in honor of our parents’ 26th anniversary. No – not to decide what to get them or what to do for them; our parents are the ultimate romantics. They do enough for each other. 😉 On top of which, they actually “kicked us out” of the house for that evening, so they could make dinner together and enjoy it in solitude. This was fine with us – we just needed a great plan to fill four to five hours. 😀

We came up with a list of 26 things to do. This list was a great list. I mean, the creative juices that were poured into it would astonish even the artists among us. It included mundane things, like driving for 26 miles. It included more spicy things, like drinking 26 ounces of water. It included over-the-top things, like releasing 26 balloons from the top of the Ballantyne Village Theater. Are you laughing yet? On the edge of your seat, wondering what we did? Overwhelmed by the ideas? Good. Keep reading.

Obviously, we are ambitious. Set the bar high, or it won’t be any fun trying to reach for it. So yes, we tried for 26 twenty-sixes, and some we got – some we didn’t quite attain. But it’s the thought that counts, and it certainly felt like half of Charlotte knew it was our parents’ 26th anniversary by the time we arrived back at The Residence. Here’s what we did:

  • We visited 8 places. I think 8 counts, because their anniversary falls on the 8th of October. <chuckle>
  • Our first stop was the Allison home, because Mr. & Mrs. Allison also celebrated their 26th anniversary this year. Congratulations to them. 🙂 While there, we stole Rachel and took her with us, to be our photographer. As a result, we have tons of excellent pictures to remember this day.
  • We spent exactly $26 at the gas station, getting gas for this amazing drive all over Charlotte. Christine is surprisingly good at getting an exact amount at the gas station, and we have the picture to prove it.
  • We definitely drove 26 miles.
  • We interviewed people on their thoughts on marriage. Anniversaries are the perfect chance to do this. Our questions (each of us had one to ask) were things like, “Do you think age matters in a relationship?” and “What do you think is the biggest contributor to the ever-rising divorce rate in America?” I have to say, that last question is quite the tongue-twister if you’re trying not to look at the paper when you say it. Can you tell which one was mine? 😛
  • We traveled with a group of 26. Since we only invited one guest to join us on this adventure, I’m sure you’re wondering how we got that number.
  • We. Took. 26. Group. Pictures. Are you impressed?
  • We chose a word, near and dear to our hearts, and tried to use it in conversation – naturally – 26 times. We made it to 16 without looking too obvious. The word, just so you’re “in the know” was…<whisper> cucumber.
  • We had our in-house senior technician cut us a CD of great songs to which we could rock out while doing all this driving. 26 tracks, of course. 😉
  • We gave 6 hugs. And no, they weren’t all to the same person.
  • We made a Roundtable List of 26 words that describe our parents and their marriage. It was epic.
  • We made 7 toasts, mostly to ourselves, our parents, and the day in general.
  • We broke into 7 [loud] rounds of applause – in public.
  • We drank 26 ounces of water.
  • We were going to leave our waitress at 26-cent tip, but that seemed a little cheap. I take that back. It was ludicrous to even think about it. So we had our in-house senior technician figure out what $0.26 SQUARED would be. That still seemed cheap. So we did $0.26 CUBED, and it was perfect. 😀
  • We froze for 26 seconds every 26 minutes. ALL NIGHT. Do you know how cool that feels? The four of us who own cell phones all set alarms to go off sequentially, and when we heard them, we all immediately froze and started silently counting. It was incredible.
  • We released 6 balloons from the top of the Ballantyne Village Theater parking deck. It was sunset, and the beautiful reddish-pink sky in the background made this event so much more special. We shouted, “HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!” and let them go, our hearts swelling with love for and gratitude toward our parents. <sigh> That was really the highlight of the evening.
  • We went to The Cheesecake Factory and ordered the 26th cheesecake on their menu. It was Caramel Pecan Turtle, in case you were wondering. Very tasty.
  • We stuck 26 tall, spindly, sparkly candles into that one piece of cheesecake, lit them, wished our parents a happy anniversary (again), and blew them out. We very nearly started a small bonfire in the restaurant. But we didn’t get in trouble. <sigh of relief>
  • And – get this – we made a list of 26 things to do. HAHA!

Thus ends one of the most wonderful celebrations of our parents’ anniversary. We had such a fabulous time, and I feel like we did honor them, even though we didn’t get them a gift, or spend the evening with them, or anything like that.

We’re so proud of our parents! I know that sounds a little backwards…but it’s true, anyway! They’re an amazing couple, and their lives and marriage are a testimony to everyone around them. May all five of us follow their example!

P.S. – not counting the title or this sentence, bet you can’t guess how many times I used the number “26” in this post… 😛


9 thoughts on “26

  1. ah, ’twas a beautiful time.
    Julianna’s sixth point was completely my idea, and I have the math to prove it if necessary. =)

  2. And I was already planning on directing any inquiries about that point to you, as you definitely came up with it. 😉

  3. 26 group pictures????? i’m impressed and i even took them! this was an amazing evening. loved every minute of being with y’all! 🙂

    • JJ, the parents didn’t come with us. They were celebrating their anniversary alone together, as the post indicates.

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