There is a song by Vince Gill called “Look at Us” and you can listen to it here.
It epitomizes my parents. Part of the lyrics read like their life story:
“Chances are, we’ll go down in history, when you want to see how true love should be – then, just look at us.”
My parents have been together their entire lives. Hard to believe, but it is true. They were just babies when they first met. My maternal grandmother was visiting my Great Aunt and brought my 3-month-old mother over and placed her in the spare bedroom next to my 9-month-old father. Can you imagine? He was admiring her while she was still in diapers.
They couldn’t date until my mother turned 16 years of age although they did meet again when she was just 15 and handing out candy to the kids in the orphanage. My father brought the children candy, too.
There has never been anyone else in either of their lives. Can you imagine that? As incredible as it sounds it is true. I’m not saying that their lives have been like a fairytale movie or a Hallmark flick – they have had their fair share of ups and downs.
They even had to bury their first born when my brother lost his struggle with cancer. I thought they would never be able to smile again, but they “leaned on each other” and got through it. So, what have I gleaned from their 69 years together? Here are their secrets:
1. My mom did most if not all of the cooking. Two cooks in the same kitchen could have been disastrous. I let my husband do ALL of the cooking so we will never have this problem.
2. Only one person can be mad at a time. I can remember my mother saying, “Your father is mad” and I would ask, “Are you mad at him?” and she would smile and say, “No. He’ll calm down after a while. Did you eat yet?” Mom never dwelled on anything – food is the quickest way to change the subject.
3. Always stand in the window and wave “goodbye” – it makes the other person want to hurry back home again. Works for us, too.
4. Have a secret code that just the two of you can share and right it on the flap of every envelope for every card that you give one another. For my folks, it was “Mizpah” which translates: “”May the LORD keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other.” My husband and I use “Wamore” which translates: “I love you – I love you way more!”
5. Hold on to each other. For as long as I can remember, they have been “holding” on to one another. Touch. Hands, Hugs. It doesn’t matter – just keep holding on through it all.
6. Get excited when the other one another arrives home. I can still remember that excitement when my mom would announce, “Dad is home!” It was sheer delight. Even though it is just me and the dog, when I hear the husband’s truck pull into the driveway, I exclaim, “Daddy’s home.”
These may sound like trivial things – but they are the kinds of things that get overlooked all too often in relationships nowadays and you know what? They are the secrets to a l-o-n-g and happy life together.
Everything I ever needed to know about relationships I learned from two people who have devoted their lives to one another.
My parents, first and foremost!