Tuesday, March 23, 2010

25 Years!

I remember this time....I was in Korea and I was coming back from tutoring a group of high school students.  It wasn't late, per say,  but it was winter and it was dark.  I'd taugth this class for a friend, while they were out of town and it was in an outlying neighborhood where there wasn't as much English and not as many foreigners walking around.  I'd gotten myself turned around and I was lost.   Most neighborhoods in Seoul don't really shut down - unless you're in their version of the burbs.  Which I was.  So....here I am, millions of miles from home, lost beyond all lost, not able to find sign to the bus station or subway and everything seems pretty darn shut down.

And I started talking to myself....I literally was thinking:

I am my father's daughter...and if my father can hump jungles in Vietnam and come out alive, I can find my way back to the damn subway

I know it sounds weird to jump to Vietnam and jungle humping.  But that's what I was thinking....I'm my Dad's daughter and when I have to be, I'm tough as nails.  Sure, I'm my Mom's daughter too - and after the tough as nails part passes, I cry like a freakin banshee...but in the thick of it, I put my head down and forge ahead like the bull my astrological sign says I am.

So at this point, ya'll are asking yourselves "Why is Heather telling us this story and what the heck does it have to do with her two little words for the day?"  No, I haven't lost my marbles.  Well, maybe I have, but that's beside the point.  I'm thinking that because I realized in a conversation with my Dad recently that this is the legacy our family has.  It's the example he and my Wicked Step Mudder (coined by my niece, who at the age of 3 didn't understand much past Snow White and thus started calling my Step Mom my Wicked Step Mudder) have provided for us kids.

And it's their 25th Wedding Anniversary today and I want to toast them and let them know that long after any parties die down and life goes on...that's what they've left us.  And that's what I hope to teach my daughter.  And that means something.

So, I don't have a flowery card for them and I didn't send flowers (because our credit card information got stolen and I'm currently naked without a credit card....because I would have!).  But I do have a gift for them....and that's the gift of legacy.

Because, you see, I now understand how hard it is to be the new wife. 

I understand how hard it is to have kids in your home that are not ones you helped raise from infancy - and thus, when they're being turds, don't remember when they were cute babies in your arms to help temper the turdiness.

I understand how that can strain a marriage - because other couples have this lovely honeymoon phase, without kids and mortgages and soccer fields and group dinners on the fly, to cement their relationship.

And they get to grow into a family that moves at the pace of 1985325 miles per hour.

I also now understand how it feels to have a mortgage - and worries about keeping a roof over your family's head.  That's not exactly romantic.

And I understand how, despite the fact that it's just a sock, a sock left in the wrong place can drive one to want to commit murder.

And I understand that relationships can be won or lost, once conversation (or lack thereof) at the time.

I understand that love is an action verb, not a state of being.

That marriage is 99% what you make of it and 1% that crazy gober head lust part.  That lust part is important - but at 3 in the morning, when you're up for the 87th time with your new infant, lust isn't going to help.  When you're planning your 93 year old mother's funeral or being told you have breast cancer again, lust isn't going to help.

And that's what my Dad and my Stepmom have given us.  Their marriage has not been easy, by any stretch of the imagination.  They've faced obstacles I don't ever want to face.  And, I'm sure there are times they wanted to quit.  And sometimes, in some instances, that's okay....sometimes you've tried everything else and done what you can do and it's the healthiest thing to do.  But a good majority of people mistake doing what's healthiest with doing what's easiest and when the tough times come, pull up stakes and run in the other direction.

That's not what my Dad and Connie have taught us.

They've taught us lots of crazy, fun stuff too.  I'm one of the few people I know that thinks pork and beans are always used in taco meat.  And a few too many trips to the Oregon Coast have left me with an unnatural affection for Alabama.  And I will never accept that there is any chowder but Mo's chowder.
But 35 years from now I don't want my grandchildren to think I was cool because I know all of the words to Roll On, I want them to think I was cool because I taught them to dig in and keep going when things are tough.

Because that's what my parents taught me.

Dad and Connie

I may be a Mama, but I'm never too old to love my Daddy

Papa and Gigi and their Carson Boy

Sisters, sisters...never were there such devoted sisters

Carson holding his baby who he's "going to teach stuff to"

Carson and Uncle Jimmy

Just look at Madelyn...you can see the wheels turning..."who are you and what are you doing with my Carson boy!"

Proud papa and his boy


Dawn said...

great toast! and may love live forever in your families hearts.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful tribute - congrats to them!

joni hardwick said...

that was one of the most wonderful tributes i have ever read! one of the best i ever heard was from Sue at your wedding! you guys just choke me up! here's hoping for another wonderful 25 for your parents! they raised a wonderful, strong woman, a great friend, and an amazing mom!