Married at seventeen... Who does that?
Today my mom and dad celebrate their 43rd wedding anniversary. I can't tell you how thrilled I am to share that they are still hanging.
You know what they say about meeting a man at the club - well it was a basement party.
So the story goes... they were two wallflowers staring at each other from across the room....
I grew up with mom and dad. I can tell you with first hand knowledge, that it took my daddy many years to grow up.
The week before they got married, daddy dislocated his shoulder at a friends bachelor party.
Quoting my mom:
"That injury was the result of impromptu, post bachelor partying, playing on asphalt in the dark...don't even know (or want to know) what they used for a football!"
Though I clearly remember sleeping with the coats at some house parties, I've only ever known my parents love, sacrifice and responsibility. When I reflect on how young they were, I am in awe.
What I know about my daddy is that he wanted a family from day conception! He was raised by his grandmother and without his siblings. He never had what my brother and I had in him. He did an excellent job winging the role of a father and family man.
A few years ago, I asked both of them to write an account of the day I was born. Here's a snippet of their stories:
Mom: We got to the hospital and they took me away. Back then, mothers giving birth didn’t get to have anyone with them, just the hospital staff. In my case, since it was a Catholic Hospital, the nurses were nuns, wearing white habits. They were very stern and efficient, but not as I recall, very warm. I was terrified and when a hard pain hit as they were getting me prepared, I tried to jump out of the bed…
Being so young, and no experience with babies, I never thought babies looked like anybody—that they just looked like babies—little pieces of dough. But here was this beautiful little red face, black hair brushed down all slick, the most striking feature being the full bottom lip poked out looking just like your Daddy!
Meanwhile daddy had been asked to leave the hospital because he was being a nuisance.
He went to his grandmother's house, which was right across the street from the hospital, and sat alone in the basement. Everyone was upstairs waiting for the news of my arrival.
Dad: I was in a total panic mode.
I was so worried about mother having a baby and what we were going to do with the baby once it came. I was scared to death! I was also determined that everything would be ok and that I would somehow be a responsible parent.
After a while I heard people asking about my
whereabouts. They sent Jim down to check on me and that's when I had my
emotional breakdown and started crying. He did his best to comfort me giving me assurance that everything was going to
be all right.
Back at the hospital...
A nurse picked you up and nodded indicating that you were my baby. I had never seen a newborn before. You looked really weird to me. Your face was all red and scrunched up and I could see your heart beat on the left front side of your head. I remember asking someone if you were ok and them replying that you were beautiful.
Here's the thing... When I think of my parents anniversary, I think of it as a day of celebration for me as well. I've been with them since the beginning. To witness a successful marriage 43 years in the making is an awesome thing. I am so proud of who they are!