I woke up recently to breastfeed my son and I popped open my phone to Facebook to help me relax one hideously early morning.
And I saw this…
Immediately, tears sprung to my eyes. Happy tears.. definitely happy tears. The kind of tears that come when watching a touching movie … only magnified because this isn’t make believe, it’s real.
To quote the character of Julia Roberts in Notting Hill: “People do stay together forever.”
My father has always been warm. He is gruff and strict on the outside but he’s a marshmallow inside. I remember growing up he’d be so excited to hide his latest pricey gift to surprise my mom and he lets us kids in on the surprise. He does have a temper but once he releases his anger, it’s all gone. No grudges. He has always been solid, stable and dependable. He is quick to make decisions and he is a great mediator when we used to clash with mama during those rebellious pubescent years. He is our rock.
My mother has always been soft and squishy inside. She is more emotional and sensitive than our father which means she can tell RIGHT AWAY if something is wrong with us. She made sure all our meals were delicious and healthy ones. She made sure we all conversed during meal times to keep communication lines open. I remember growing up she kept telling me that I should be so lucky to marry a man like my dad. She was quick to hug and to praise. She is the light of the house.
Together, they raised me and my brother with as much love as they could muster. They didn’t leave us behind during trips, opting instead to travel with us since my brother turned 3. They established schedules that my brother and I looked forward to with much eagerness as children. Fridays nights = family dinners. Sundays = family day.
Together, they built a solid nest egg. My father had a thriving business and my mother saved everything she could. We grew up never wanting for anything.
Together, they made perfect sense. My father loves my mother and vice versa. They didn’t always agree and I’m sure they didn’t like each other all the time. There were rough patches along the way of life but they came out of it all stronger than ever. They are the epitome of love and sacrifice conquering all.
I remember when my mother decided to quit her job of 20 years and was so scared she couldn’t sleep for days at a time from the fear and stress. My father was her biggest cheerleader and financier in building a brand new career when she was well into her 40’s. My father believed in my mom and she, in turn, bloomed and grew a small fledgling real estate business into a company with multiple brokers under her wing.
My dad taught me that real men are loving, caring and supportive of their wives. My mom taught me what it means to forgive and love overcoming all adversities.
My mother broke her knee a couple of years ago and my dad doted on her like a loving nurse. He bathed her and carried her. He took her travelling because she wanted to, even though it wasn’t convenient to travel with someone who couldn’t walk. It was touching to see. That’s how love is.
Love is inconvenient. Love is sacrifice.
Love hurts sometimes.
Love is hugging your cranky spouse.
Love is striving to make your partner happy.
Love is keeping silent even if answering back or screaming would have been more satisfying.
Love is falling down and helping each other to get up.
Love is protecting and taking care of each other.
Love is cheering each other on in good times. Love is backing each other up in bad times.
Love is respecting one another’s decisions, points of view and even weird quirks.
Love is never demeaning the other. Love is never allowing oneself to be demeaned either.
Love is only possible if both parties love themselves enough to expect much from the other and the other responds by living up to the expectations.
Love exists between equals where there are no victors and there are no martyrs.
Love takes two people… always.
During my brother’s wedding recently my father eloquently said in his speech that marriage is like dancing the Cha-cha. The partners take turns: One person steps forward and the other steps back… give and take…both of equal importance… both dancing to the same tune. And here they are, still dancing after 38 years.
To my parents who have taught me so much about life and love.
Thank you for giving us wonderful lives of laughter, joy and peace.
Thank you for teaching us our worth.
Thank you for being great role models for when it was our turn to discover love.
Praying for a lifetime together filled with love and happiness for you, my dear parents.
I love you both so much.