It seems to be a very auspicious, once in a lifetime kind of date, don't you think? The last of its kind, to be sure. While a lot of people will ascribe something magical to it, I mark it as the 43rd anniversary of my wedding to my high school sweetheart.
My mother was in MISERY on that day, giving us $200 as a gift and then shutting the door to the idea of her 19 year old daughter marrying That Boy. Rod's mother was in misery on that day, too, and it was not because we were getting married (she could not control that) but because we were not getting married in a church or with a crowd or anything; we were going to be married by a judge in Monterey and then go out to lunch in Carmel. No Parents Allowed.
If it had not been for Mary, there would have been no wedding cake. Yes, I do thank her for that; having a little cake for us to cut, when we drove back from Monterey with our friends/witnesses. It was a very generous surprise, as always. We had just enough time to have a toast with a glass of sparkling wine and a bite of cake, before heading to the airport for our honeymoon flight to Disneyland. A perfect place for totally naive kids, beginning our lives together.
When I look back, as a grandma, I think about all that has transpired in these 43 years. We picked the right people to commit to, Rod and I. Dumb luck? Not if "My Friend Who Knows Everything" has anything to say about it. I was told that he and I knew each other as souls and made a pact to come in together, to come together as help-mates. It makes sense, simply because we are at our best when we have to work together, so I guess that we were destined to be The Only Children of Our Mothers and see those people through to The Other Side before we could finally relax.
We came home from that honeymoon, ready to play house and assume the roles that we would play, as married people. I was the artist/sales girl/wife and he was the student/gas pump jockey/husband. We struggled and he worried but we had a lot of fun in our little third floor apartment.
Our first Christmas tree was about two feet tall and was covered with ornaments that we made for it (those were the days of foam shapes, pins, beads and sequins). We lovingly made gifts for our families; some who appreciated Art and others who did not, unfortunately. We had NO idea of what we were doing but we were doing it together, as young kids. Rod + Lisa forever became Rod and Lisa Souza.
It is like watching Fever Dream Movies, these days, when I think about all that has transpired in our lives. We have had specific parts to play, as each year progressed. Rod was always the Provider, with his stick-to-it mentality and loyalty. He would put on his put on his various uniforms, through the years, which included that of a blue and white Standard Oil service station attendee, an olive drab California Army National Guard soldier, a Suit & Tie Prophane Industries worker bee and finally of a Casual-Friday-I-No-Longer-Give-A-Crap drone. (now he has no uniform, thank you.)
He became a father and I became a stay-at-home Earth Mother/artist. He worked at a desk and I became a singer/songwriter. He worked at a desk and I became a fiber artist. Every step of the way, That Boy gave me permission to be who I needed to be, at that moment. Now that he is a retired grandpa and I am still running a successful small artistic business, he now has permission to do whatever he wants, even though he spends a lot of that time helping ME.
It has been a good life, so far. We have raised wonderful children to adulthood, taken care of our ailing mothers, and now we are going into the time when we don't mind being old enough for a Senior Discount. We have a lot of living to do and thanks to his hard work and my mother's generosity, we no longer have to struggle and count our pennies as we head into this autumnal phase, together.
At each step of our lives, Rod has been my rock and I have been his and that is what a long-term marriage looks like. We used to stare into each others eyes as moon-struck kids and now we walk side by side and look toward the future and into the eyes of our sweet grandchildren. We were kids together, 43 years ago, and now we are heading into our senior years, wondering how in the world we look so much like our parents and how we got so many grey hairs, all of a sudden.
Happy Anniversary, Grampy, I can't wait to go to France.