February 7 is a big day in our family. See this young couple?

Ben Ida Marie and Heather - 1961

This is my Mom and Dad, Ida and Ben. They are pictured here in 1961 with my sister Marie (right) and me. Marie was born on their second wedding anniversary, on February 7.

Today, Mom and Dad are in Portugal celebrating their anniversary, as they have done for the past several years, and Marie is in Ottawa marking her birthday.

Marie and I were partners in crime in our early childhood, and managed to share many escapades even after the arrival of our two younger sisters. Catching frogs at the cottage, shivering as we walked through the forest path to our early morning swimming lessons (carrying flashlights to shine in the bears’ eyes…such protection!), divvying up the comic books given to us every weekend by our elderly neighbours, preening in our Easter hats and white gloves and trying to stay clean for church, trudging off to piano lessons, playing “scrub” with the neighbourhood kids…all of my early memories have Marie in them, right by my side.

And always, always, our Mom and Dad were there… with hand-knit Barbie doll clothes (including socks!), frog boxes embellished with chicken wire and tire tubes, pans of steaming cinnamon buns, Sunday drives, root beer at Percy’s on the way to the lake, and admonitions to line up the seedlings in straight rows and to do something right if you were going to bother to do it at all.

We were lucky then, and we’re lucky now.

Happy Birthday, Marie.  Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad.