My parents, Kevin and Linda, were married on November 6, 1971. My mother told me growing up that she and my father had settled on that date to get married only after my grandfather had told her no one would come if the wedding was in October (when my Mom originally wanted to have it) because that was opening weekend of deer season. So if she wanted him or anyone else to be there she'd have to wait a few weeks into the season. So wait they did.
My mother wore a polyester dress she made with materials that cost her a whopping $25. Her dress had a high collar and long sleeves and she accessorized beautifully with a cathedral length veil (that she also made) that was completely lined with lace. I used to wear that veil when I was little and fantasize about my own future wedding day.
Her bridesmaids wore orange and purple. I remember thinking when I was little (and even well into adolescence) that those were the ugliest colors imaginable for a wedding party. I always thought that was typical 70's style. But I take that back. I am mature enough now to admit that I actually think those colors are beautiful together (especially for a Fall wedding!).
My Mom's brother, (Uncle) Dick took their wedding pictures as a gift to them since he didn't have any money for a "real" gift at the time. Unfortunately I don't have any to share with you as that was eons before the digital age and I simply was not able to scam one from my parents to scan in time for this post.
From other stories I've heard, it snowed on their wedding day. I find that particularly interesting since this was the scene that apparently greeted my parents this morning as they awoke back home where they were married 38 years ago.
My Mom's family had some sort of tradition of stealing the bride that I don't remember the finer details of and if I recall correctly, my uncles dressed up my father's car for the bride and groom in grand style. I have few other details about the day. In my defense, I have the world's worst memory and after all, I was not there, remember :) This little exercise however does spur me to want to revisit the stories with my mother to learn and remember more.
What I do remember and carry with me is what my parents have taught me in the last thirty-three (cough!) years that I've been lucky enough to know them. Mom and Dad always taught me what love was. They demonstrated the importance of love over money or things. Mom always said that money didn't mean success, happiness did.
My parents always have been (and still are!) the epitome of good teamwork. They might not have known it, but they always displayed a solid unit to us. Mom was outside next to Dad chopping wood on the weekends and Dad was standing right behind Mom to back her up whenever we tried to give her attitude. There was no playing sides with them and you knew you'd always get the same answer from Mom that Dad had just given you. They showed us through hard work that there was nothing that couldn't be accomplished if we just worked together.
Their actions also showed us that there is nothing more important than family and that we needed to look out for each other. They were there for us through thick and thin and supported us no matter what silly mistakes and choices we made or which paths we followed. They were poster parents for unconditional love.
My parents are a true inspiration to me. I know they're not perfect. I know they have disagreements and probably drive each other batty with habits that would grate on anyone's nerves after 38 years, but their love is real, it's deep, and it's everlasting. It sees beyond all those nit-picky things that stop most people dead in their tracks after many fewer years together.
How have they managed to spend 38 years together when most people can't do 3 TO 8 years together?
If I've learned anything from watching them it's accomplished by dancing in the kitchen while dinner is cooking, stealing kisses when the kids aren't looking, or making googly eyes at one another when you think they're not watching. Never stop listening, forgiving, supporting, and growing together. Stand by each other and support one another through all of life's ups and downs, and be a TEAM.
Surely they must have done something right to get this far. They have three wonderful (if I do say so myself!) children, three gorgeous (again, if I may say so) grandchildren, and continue to be a true inspiration as I raise my family. I always say if I can do half the job they did with me, I'll be giving my children the world!
Thanks, Mom and Dad for all you've taught me and for all the love you brought into my life!!
Congratulations on 38 fabulous years!!