On this day fifty years ago there was a simple wedding. The bride was young; her smile was immense lighting up her face and the room. The groom, also young, beamed with pride and adoration for his bride.
They were starting their lives together with little more than dreams and love. Their approach to life was simple – love one another, work hard, save for the future and enjoy life. They’d first met five years earlier when the young girl with plenty of spunk and lots of attitude caught the attention of the quiet handsome boy who loved football. Their story is no different to many others – boy meets girl, there’s a challenge (in this case apparently another girl) then they live happily ever after – but if you ask them, their versions of the story aren’t quite the same. But they just share a glance, a smile as they remember the story and move on with the truth never quite revealed.
Before long they had a small house, two children were born and the adventure of raising a family was underway. They worked hard to keep it all together – kid’s sports on the weekends, outings with family and friends and Christmas holidays down the coast. Life brought its challenges – medical issues, elderly parents and financial worries. But it also brought some great joy – adventures overseas, building their own home and a grandchild (and we can’t forget the grand-doggies!).
They’ve experienced it all in their relationship over the fifty years – laughter, arguments, joy, tears, fun and drama – but their love and support has just grown stronger.
As parents they’ve provided a framework for which I live my life. For years I rebelled against their example never quite taking the sensible pathway, occasionally choosing the high risk decision and taking the impulsive rather than well considered option. Every time though, they were there to catch me. While we’ve not always agreed on some things I knew they had my back, would protect me to the ends of the earth and provide even more support and love when I needed it the most.
What their fifty years of experience has taught me is that I have a long way to go before I grow up. I continue to rely on them for advice and support. As their child I’ve learnt how to cook for my family, how to change the oil in the car, how to nurture a garden, how to fix a plumbing problem (even if just means calling the plumber), how to get the stain out of a beloved shirt and even, regrettably, how to iron. But more importantly I’ve learnt how to respect and appreciate my extended family, how to be patient with my own child when I’m questioning her decisions, how to work hard to achieve my dreams, how to step through each challenge breath by breath until the light shines again and how to love and appreciate the small wonders of life.
A fiftieth wedding anniversary can’t pass by without acknowledgement. In this day and age it’s almost unique and must be celebrated for it is only with age that you really understand the hard work, love and tolerance it takes to make a relationship work.
During the celebrations this week I’ll watch and notice the secret glances, the special smiles and the absolute adoration they continue to show towards one another.
Happy 50th anniversary mum and dad