Monday, September 5, 2011

Unwavering Devotion

The other day, Mom and Dad left home to spend the day at their camp on the lake, 15 minutes outside of town. They packed their dinner in the cooler. Dad had prepared one of my sister’s recipes, “tuna cakes”, in the morning before leaving. Upon their arrival at camp, Dad lit a fire in the stove to warm it up a bit (“Old folks can't seem to take the cold”, Dad told me), and Mom made the salad and peeled the potatoes. “We made a good pair”, Dad said. I know he was referring to their meal preparation, but that’s an understatement if I ever heard one. In their early eighties, Mom and Dad have made a great pair and have been one another’s lifeline, for over 60 years.

In 1951, my parents were married and left their hometown city in the southern part of the state where each of them had lived for over 23 years. They took a huge risk leaving all they knew, but followed the job Dad had been offered, and made their home in a small community which back then took an entire day’s journey to reach. They rented a little apartment and created a home for themselves. My four siblings arrived in 1952, 1954, 1956, and 1958. My parents saved their money then bought a home, and despite their initial plan to live in that town for “Just five years”, they raised their family in that same community. They still reside there, all these years later.

For all of their married life, there were budgets and penny pinching. “Children of The Depression”, my homemaker mother was a clever and resourceful woman, and Dad was incredibly handy in taking care of the home and in building a camp at the lake with only the help of his four young children. The camp was built as my Mom was expecting me. I came along in 1968 and soon, two of my siblings were finishing their high school years. By the time I was eight years old, each of my siblings had moved out of the house. Mom and Dad began helping out with their new grandchildren and each with an aging mother, Mom and Dad frequently were the caregivers for my elderly grandmothers. For years, Nana and Grammy each spent a great amount of time, convalescing at our home. I know those years were not easy. They were juggling many challenges.

Through the years my parents have lovingly put one another first. Mom watches over Dad’s diet and activities, making sure he does not overdo. Dad, in turn, keeps his eye on Mom. Their worry over one another was always apparent to me growing up. Small gestures, big gestures, they took care of one another, without fail. All these years later, I am still touched by emails they send which share with us children their days at camp, listening to the loons, preparing meals side by side. Dad tells us Mom continues to beat him playing Scrabble, and it’s very apparent that they continue to worry over one another. They continue to make “a good, (no, a great) pair”.

Life throws us many challenges. Some are more difficult to face than others. My parents, side-by-side, struggled through many hardships over the course of their marriage, but never faltered in displaying, to each of us five children, their unwavering devotion to us and to one another. As they age, the challenges for them continue. But for richer or for poorer, through sickness and in health, those vows are unbreakable. Mom has always been Dad’s sweetheart and Dad has always been Mom’s knight in shining armor. And I am so blessed to have witnessed their love and to be their daughter.

1 comment:

  1. And they've always displayed their unwavering devotion to one another for everyone else in the world to see. Your parents are a great example of what marriage is truly all about.