Thursday, September 29, 2011

Happy Anniversary, kids!

Forty-five years ago on this day something pretty special happened.  My parents, then twenty-two and twenty-three, who were madly in love - and I mean madly in love - who had waited four long years, and who were more than ready to begin their lives together were, at last, married.

I had the privilege of seeing these two lovebirds this week when they came for their annual Fall visit.  As I was driving them to the airport Tuesday night, I asked them each to tell me what they valued most about their forty-five years of marriage.

said the best thing was 
"having learned the truth of the last line from the song, "Nature Boy" which is:

The greatest thing
You'll ever learn
Is just to love
And be loved
In return.

"In order to understand the truth of that line you do have 'to love and be loved in return' - and I do think that's the greatest thing."

MOM said this:

"Though I have always cherished my time with Dad, I find that increasing more and more. We always loved being together, and since much of our courtship was spent apart, the "At Last" (pertaining to the song) for us applies not only to our having found each other, but also to finally being married, so we could be together all the time - "At Last." When we married and I followed him to California I didn't know a soul there except a few of his friends I'd met only briefly. But it didn't matter. All that mattered was that he was there. As the years go by, more and more I realize the value in just being with him. Though I enjoy the company of others and consider myself a social person, when I am away from him for any length of time I miss him, and I still cry when I leave him at the airport. We sit for hours after breakfast talking about many things, either the business at hand or reminiscing about old times. We talk as we take our walks, or sometimes don't talk, just walk hand-in-hand (and it's amazing how many people have commented on our holding hands as we walk). And he still makes me laugh - out loud - all the time. Being together is so comfortable, so right. And as time goes on, that only increases, getting better with each passing year."

The love these two share is a fierce, unbreakable kind of love.  The foundation they've built throughout their journey together is immovable and they continue to strengthen it each day through simple acts of kindness, affection and laughter.  The longer I'm alive and married the more I see just how much my parents' value of marriage has rubbed off on me.  In a world where it's taken less and less seriously, I am grateful for this confidence and level of sacredness they have instilled in me.  And there's no doubt in my mind that Neil and I will someday celebrate forty-five years too.

When I think about my parents I feel peace and comfort in my heart.  They love each other so deeply, know each other so well, and take care of each other with such tenderness.  Just as any parent finds joy in seeing his/her children happy, I find joy in seeing my parents happy.  I sleep better at night knowing they are taken care of.

Over the years my parents have talked about some of the things that initially attracted them to each other.  My dad has mentioned several times my mom's skinny ankles and her playful, vivacious spirit.  He's also mentioned more than once the lasting effect she had on him the night they met on her front porch when he and their mutual friend, Lynn Hemingway dropped in to say hello.  In a recent description he wrote about the movie, Legally Blonde for their annual Halliday Film Festival which they host each summer, he said this:

"You've gotta love Reese Witherspoon in this unlikely tale of blonde determination - and intelligence! - sticking it to academic snobbery and snooty elitism.  It may surprise you, but Witherspoon in this film reminds me of Jill back in her twenties.  Yup, the fun-loving confidence, the indomitable perseverance, the charming quick-wittedness, the life-loving exuberance, and the total absence of vindictiveness, even when maliciously wronged - the Jill I fell in love with over four decades ago."

My mom has talked endlessly about how handsome my dad was.  She told me that the first time her youngest sister, Valeri, who was nine at the time, met him, she raced into the kitchen announcing that Dick Van Dyke was standing in their living room!  My dad made her and everyone laugh, and that was a quality she'd always wanted and continues to appreciate and cherish to this day. 

A variation of courtship photos ranging from 1962-1966.
With my grandparents, all of whom have passed away except Grandma Martha (second from the left), who will celebrate her 95th birthday this December.  Love these people so much.  Can't say it enough.
Shortly after they were married.  Can you tell they're happy?

I love this one.  Not sure what year it was taken but my guess is late 60s or early 70s.

You've still got it, guys!  Even after forty-five years, you've still got it!
And just look what you have to show for it!

{Mother's Day 2011 - Salt Lake City, UT}
We love you and hope today is perfect!
Happy Anniversary!


Mamamanya said...

LOVE this post! So sweet! This really put a smile on my face today, thanks Valeri! And HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to the two Love Birds!!! XOXO

stephschmidt said...

I love this! Especially seeing all the old photos - you can almost imagine being there, can't you? Happy Anniversary Jill and Dave!

David Halliday said...

Well done, Valeri. Well done.

David Halliday said...

Beautifully done, Valeri. Thank you!