Friday, 17 May 2013

41 years and counting

Today marks the 41st anniversary of my mum and dad getting married. Dad was in the army and looked so handsome in his uniform and mum's happiness shone through on their wedding day.

People said they would only last 6 months; I have no idea why as they had been dating 18 months. Maybe it was because Dad was in the army and mum travelled with him.

All in all we lived in 14 houses for the first 6 years of my life, part of it in Germany. Apparently I decided to leave home when I was 4. Mum didn't worry much as she knew I would obey the instruction 'do not cross the road'. 

Dad was on exercise a lot and mum looked after us 24 hours a day.  I don't remember my dad being away on exercise, instead I have a wealth of snapshots in my head of mum and dad together and my childhood; dad playing badminton in the garden with mum and their friends while the sun shone, being told off for letting one of mum's friends paint my nails red, staring out of a window and being able to see the playground behind our flat and the ride that looked like a mushroom that went round and round, the long bus ride to school.

We lived with my nan for 2 years while mum and dad saved for a house when dad left the army.  They still live in the house they bought when I was 8.  I remember all the sacrifices and things they did for their children; buying a Jack Russell puppy so that I would learn not to be scared of dogs anymore, selling their Beetle car (which I used to love sitting in the boot instead of a seat) to take us on holiday, letting us wander around St. Ives on our own (I only found out 4 months ago that they followed us at a distance to make sure we were safe - makes sense), sitting upstairs so I could have all my mates in the house to watch a film, sitting all of us down to watch an important programme on Aids when it first became prevalent aware that they were more open than most parents, and the list goes on.

Dad was a milkman for a while after leaving the army before spending the rest of his career working in a nuclear plant, mum worked in a rock factory and I will never forget all the summer holidays that I worked with her there or the day I got such a telling off for letting some of the factory workers draw comedy eyes on my brand new plastic lenses for my glasses.

Despite many trials mum and dad have stayed together, always loving one another and accepting each other for who they are without trying to change each other and Hubby and I live by that manta to this day.  Not being a couple to show their feelings in public there was a time and place for everything but it was and still is obvious that they are devoted to one another.  

They were always there for us to play, learn and love, even the days that they had to replace one of the front door glass panels as I had kicked it trying to shut the door to keep the dog in or the day they returned home only for me to tell them I had broken their beloved cuckoo clock after convincing myself in the middle of the night that there was a bomb in the house.  

I can thank my mum and dad for my grades because they lived by the rule that our homework was done before any playtime after school and I can thank them for my love of books because it was their insistence on completing all our reading homework that created it.  

Dad has always been the strong one, completing all DIY in the house and even on days off he had a list of jobs to complete.  He could be found in the garden, greenhouse or shed on any sunny day, without his shirt on doing whatever job needed doing in the house.  Mum could be found doing the housework and cooking and insisting on putting the washing on the line at any sign of a day where it wasn't raining. 

Family time in front of the TV was a favourite watching the same shows each weekend.  I will always remember lying in front of the fire, with my chin resting on Bobby (the Jack Russell) watching Tom & Jerry and The Love Boat while mum and dad cooked Sunday dinner.

Those Sunday dinners were a ritual and still are.  Despite claiming that sunday dinners do not taste the same on any other day of the week mum will make a Sunday dinner when Hubby and I go round for tea knowing how much Hubby enjoys them.  

Visiting mum and dad on a Sunday morning is a ritual for me and when they are on holiday in Spain for 4 weeks I almost begin to pine for those visits.  Being able to contact them by text and email is not the same.  Dad has tried teaching Hubby DIY and finally accepted that he is just no good at it. 

As they age I worry more for mum and dad.  Dad is no longer as strong as he used to be and has slowed down most visibly on the DIY and for the first time in my life I am aware of their ages.  Yet they remain there for us all, laughing and joking, teaching and sharing experiences and providing all the love we need.

Mum and Dad are evidence of how strong a marriage can be and that despite ups and downs and how important their marriage vows were.  They believe in working through any problems and issues together and have provided their children with a solid base and the evidence of what a solid and loving marriage is.  It took me some time but I am lucky enough to have found just that and for that I have my mum and dad to thank for all the support they have provided and still provide to this day.

Happy Anniversary Mum and Dad.  Have a fantastic holiday and we will celebrate the 41st of many when you get back.

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