I know I’ve written a lot of anniversary blogs lately (The Dateiversary, The Unanniversary, my sweet grandparents’ 63rd anniversary), but today is my parents’ 32nd wedding anniversary, and I decided to write another anniversary blog, because I can’t think of a couple I know more in love than those two. Many people actively look for the opposite of the examples they grew up with, and so I know I’m very fortunate to say I really hope to build a marriage just like theirs.
My mom, Laura, and dad, Murry, met in December of 1979. My mom had broken up with her boyfriend the day before, Dec. 8th, and on Dec. 9th, went to an “interline party,” where several different airlines came together to throw a holiday party. She was a flight attendant back when they were “stewardesses,” and my dad was there with the specific purpose to meet one.
My mom, in uniform.
A mutual friend introduced them, knowing they both liked to write and were vegetarians. (Which I still find hard to believe; my dad is a good ol’ boy from Texas and I remain convinced he lied about this to get in with my mom.) My dad had a Fu Manchu mustache, gold chains, and a shirt unbuttoned all the way down to his belly. My mom recalls, “He looked like Mr. T, I guess. I thought, ‘This guy is so not my type.” My dad reminisces, “I had some velour shirts and stitched boots that were really neat.”
They dated for nearly 2 1/2 years, all long distance. Because she worked for an airline, my mom flew for free and would visit him whenever she could. He would always meet her at the airport with champagne and roses. Every. Time.
They both wanted a family more than anything. They loved to read, camp, hike and host potlucks. They shared a sense of humor and the same life goals. They adopted two dogs together, and my mom eventually started leaving bridal magazines around the house.
My mom and Freddy, the greatest dog my parents have ever had.
On one of my dad’s trips to see her, at the airport as he was about to board his flight home (that was back when you could walk your loved ones all the way to their gate), my dad stammered out “Would you… Would you…” And my mom barked, “Would I WHAT?!” And my dad asked “Would you marry me?” My mom’s version of the story is that she sassily replied, “Let me think about it,” and waited to shout “Yes, I will marry you!” until the very last moment before he walked down the gateway. His response? “Okay. Don’t tell anyone.” Then he got on the plane and left.
Once he’d had a few hours in the air to think about what he’d done, my dad proceeded more traditionally. He bought a diamond and had a ring made just for her, and then formally asked my grandpa for her hand, to which Grandpa Gil hollered, “POP THE CHAMPAGNE!”
They got married a few months later, on August 21, 1982. My mom says this was the only day the church was available… Even though it just so happened to be her older, then-unmarried sister’s 30th birthday. (A bit of a bridezilla move on the part of someone who is so vocally against bridezillas, if you ask me…) My mom’s beautiful wedding gown was re-made from an opera house costume, and they had a live jazz band. Their first dance was to “How Deep Is the Ocean,” and they honeymooned in Hawaii.
I’ve written separately about my mom and my dad, and what incredible parents they are, but I think the best gift they gave my brother and me was the example of what a loving marriage looks like. When he got home from work, he would always hug and usually dance with my mom, before seeing what kind of trouble Billy and I had gotten into; they always made a point to take time for each other, keep dating each other.
They go for a 3-mile walk together every morning. My dad works nearby, and usually brings her home lunch. He cooks her breakfast in bed for no reason, and takes her on surprise day-dates to the movies. My mom learned to cook his favorite recipes from his grandmother, and play golf, his favorite activity.
I asked them what their secret to a happy marriage is, and my mom told me, “We just love and like each other. We’re each other’s best friends. He’s really the perfect husband — a very kind, compassionate man, with a sense of humor. If you had a shopping list of what you wanted in a mate, except for the Fu Manchu mustache and gold chains, he had everything.” And my dad’s advice? “Learn how to make really good cinnamon rolls.”
He also added, to her, “You’re never boring,” and then to me, “It was always very clear I’d have a wonderful life with your mom. When she wasn’t there, something was missing, and something comes over you when you realize things are better when they’re there.”
Dad, Mom, me & Tony at our engagement party this weekend… Forgive the blurriness - this is the best picture we have of all four of us, we were so busy having fun!
Tony and I will be very blessed if we have a marriage even half as loving and happy as theirs. Thank you for setting such a beautiful example, Mom & Dad! Happy anniversary!