Yesterday my parents celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary. No big fuss was made by them, they are happy as they have always been being together.
I must admit I have taken their solid relationship for granted most of my life. I haven’t been able to duplicate it and have watched them for signs or formulas about how to have what they’re having. I’ve even asked them flat out what the ‘secret sauce’ is. They don’t make a big deal of it.
They have achieved a lot in their 50 years together. I could run through the stats, the six children, the home, the extended family and the good times but that would be my perspective and they are private people.
I don’t have the definitive answers, but what I have observed is they genuinely care for one another. Many of my friends when I was younger and even ex-boyfriends would say to me how wonderful my parents were and what a great relationship they had but I took it for granted and didn’t think it was that special. As their first child who will be 50 in another 10 months I’ve had a lot of time to watch what they do and this is what I’ve noticed.
They have totally embraced one another’s families. Sadly they are the last two remaining people alive in this photo. I have been blessed with a family that gets along. At our family occasions, both mum and dad’s families have been welcome, included and have enjoyed being together. My mum’s younger brothers and sisters (she came from a family of 8 children) have demonstrated as much love and respect to my dad as to my mum and that kind of sentiment is earned not demanded. My mum has also been lovingly a part of my dad’s smaller and close family. I never got the mother in law jokes when I was a child because both my parents showed genuine love and care for their parents.
They were a tight unit when I was a teenager. The only time I got to play one off against the other was the Richmond/Collingwood football Grand Final in 1980 and I did have to consult Google for that date. I do recall I wanted to go to a Blue Light Disco in Morwell that evening and mum said ‘No’ – she barracks for Collingwood. When dad returned from the GF he said ‘Yes’. I quickly took off and didn’t wait around for a discussion. It was rare. I still remember it :).
They made a lot of time for each other whilst we were growing up. They would go out for dinner or away for weekends – which gave us lots of time to become close to our grandparents. My Auntie Pat also looked after us a lot. They allowed others to be a part of our lives and thus carved out precious time for themselves. They clearly have always enjoyed being together.
I am blessed to be the child of such a stable relationship and all the security and love it has freely brought to me. It’s given me the strength and support to do all that I’ve wanted to do in my life. I haven’t been able to replicate their great union, but I’ve had the freedom and support to do what I’ve wanted to do. I no longer take their strong foundation for granted and I appreciate the love and home that I was gifted by their commitment.
As an interesting aside, they had a wedding breakfast. They got married on a very hot day. Mum borrowed her wedding dress. Dad had just returned from Darwin. They seriously wanted to be together and it wasn’t about the party – but it looks like a good party.
I am grateful for all involved. I was brought up in a happy home.