How I Found and Gave My Parents the Perfect 50th Anniversary Gift

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Mom & Dad, Wedding Day in 1967

Mom & Dad, Wedding Day in 1967

Finding the perfect 50th anniversary gift for my parents was difficult, but once I found it, it was so easy to execute and Casey Kasem would agree it was a hit. The gift encapsulated my gratitude and appreciation for all they’ve done for my siblings and me and to this day, they continue to give. Before I share what this chart-topping gift is, let me briefly give you a glimpse into my childhood.

Things I Did as a Kid
One of my favorite activities as a kid was pulling out my mom’s Barbara Streisand and Peter, Paul and Mary vinyl records and play DJ on the carpet. I spun those babies round until both sides were scratched up so much that they skipped at every rotation on the turntable. While mom appreciates folk music, my dad’s into the ‘60s beach music with the Beach Boys topping his musical genre list. I remember seeing those albums on 8-track but somehow, they survived my childhood, although, those tapes would’ve been pretty nifty to decorate a room with.

Looking back, destroying my mom’s records, and from what I recall, not being punished for it, was an awful thing to do but I was a kid. And like a puppy, I didn’t know better. Throughout childhood and even to this day, my mom and dad continued to love my three siblings and me unconditionally for the moments we made them proud and the not-so-bragging-to-their-friends moments.

Now That I’m an Adult
Oftentimes, I don’t feel as though I lived up to their expectations of me. I had a failed marriage, didn’t have kids and am not making six figures like my brother and despite this, they’ve been there for the mountains of celebrations and valley of lows.

I don’t know how much they gave up and whether they would admit it or not, there were times they put their lives on hold to help us move forward in life. My dad, a retired school teacher and high school football coach, taught summers to keep the family going financially. Coaching football and other sports meant time away from family but it was making us financially sound. My mom was a school teacher, too, but gave it up when she had me and decided to be a stay-at-home mom. I never asked if she ever regretted her choice but I’m grateful she did.

A recent example of them putting their lives on hold is when they took care of me for a couple of weeks when I had a hysterectomy at the beginning of the year. True, spending a couple of weeks in Southwest Florida in January beats a couple of weeks in Buffalo. Which leads me today.

Finding the Perfect 50th Anniversary Gift for My Parents
I was on the hunt for the perfect 50th anniversary gift for my parents and was a little bit stuck. I wanted to avoid giving them something tangible because, honestly, how much “stuff” do we need in our lives? I mean, we’ve become a stuff, materialistic society and if there’s something we really want, we simply go out and buy it. And after 50 years of marriage, I know my parents have accumulated quite a bit of stuff and I wanted something more personal. Although, I’m guessing my mom would have appreciated a Publix key lime pie. If you haven’t tasted one, do it as soon as you can!

But I digress…

I wanted something to show appreciation for their selflessness and love and let them know I appreciated the sacrifices they made to make my siblings and me who we are today. At the time I began looking for experiences, blogger Kara Franker shared on Facebook something very special she gave her husband for his first Father’s Day. A song. This wasn’t any old song, it was commissioned by Songfinch and her husband loved it.

Certainly, this was the perfect 50th anniversary gift I was looking for! I hopped over the Songfinch, provided them with as much background information as I could and waited. In a few short days I received a response stating my song was complete and on its way to me through mail.
Oh, boy. I was a little nervous because I thought maybe there would be some follow up before the finished product, just to touch base and see if the songwriter was on the same track. Nope. I had handed over as much detail as possible (and handed over some dinero) and was putting my faith it would convey what I had wanted.

Songfinch is a Chart-Topper!
When I finally heard it, titled “Helped Us Find Our Way” by Los Angeles-based singer and songwriter Jeffrey Scott Joslin II, and read the lyrics, I cried happy, warm-fuzzy tears. Without a doubt, this song was the perfect gift. It encapsulated everything I wanted to say while telling a story about my parents’ lives. I had provided a lot of content and the songwriter included as much as possible.

I shared it with a friend who thought it was wonderful but, when I shared it with my siblings, my sisters said it was nice and I didn’t hear from my brother. That was a lukewarm response and oh, heck! Were my parents going to love it as much as I did?

The day of my parents 50th wedding anniversary party, my dad told the 40 or so guests the story of how he met my mother and little did he know, this was the perfect segue for playing “Helped Us Find Our Way.” At first, there was a little confusion as they did not understand what was being played but by the second verse, my mom’s eyes began welling up.

I was fighting back tears as was one of my sisters. As for my dad, the man who wore the same stoic emotion on his face during football games whether his team was winning or losing, I saw his eyes tear up.

Throughout the event, we played the song and they picked up on what was being sung. During the final hours of the evening, my sisters played it over and over, dancing and singing along with others who had also picked up on the lyrics and melody.

Without a doubt, commissioning a song through SongFinch was the perfect 50th anniversary gift. Thank you Jef Joslin and Songfinch!

Note
After the song was debuted at the party, many people asked me how I found it and how I went about creating the song.

On the Songfinch website, they make it pretty easy to answer questions so they have the information they need to find the right songwriter and performer. As my sister-in-law pointed out, this is way better than one of those children’s books that randomly inserts a child’s name into the story. Songfinch creates a unique and personal song.

Within 2 weeks, a notecard is sent with the URL to the song’s webpage. You can write your note to the recipient and they can download the song. Or, you can download it and share on social media. On the webpage are the lyrics and bio about the songwriter.
Give the song a listen and I hope you’ll consider Songfinch when looking for the perfect gift.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to support my traveling habit, this blog and my special needs dog.

Author: Solo Travel Girl

Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led Jennifer Huber, aka: Solo Travel Girl, to a career path in tourism. She has worked in the tourism industry for more than 20 years including 10 years with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley and Everglades National Park. She currently lives in Southwest Florida, and maintains this travel blog with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely.

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