I’ve been so focused on school that I haven’t had any brilliant sparks of imagination for a blog post. I was really struggling last night trying to figure out what I wanted to talk about. Should I critique a poorly done critique of John Carter from our school paper? Should I talk about some of the weird facts I’ve found in doing my mummification presentation for my Honors senior seminar? Should I talk about Casablanca (We’ll wait until we’ve finished it)? None of those really felt promising (Okay, maybe I would enjoy the John Carter one). Then this morning, the little light bulb (It’s a very dull light bulb) in my head flashed and I knew what to write about. Today, my mama and daddy have been married 21 years so I thought I’d dedicate this one to them.
You’re probably trying to do the math and figure out how they’ve been together 21 years and have a daughter in college. No, I wasn’t a mistake long after the planned baby was born (Okay, sometimes it may be questionable if I should be called a mistake). They met when my mama was 15 and my daddy, 17. Now, you’re trying to do the math and figure out how they’ve only been married 21 years, right? Well, because they were together 9 years before they got married. The Army kind of threw off marriage plans. Plus, it gave them enough time to be completely sure this was what they wanted.
One of the main reasons they have been together so long is related to a quotation from Dr. Seuss: “We’re all a little weird and life’s a little weird and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” Now, my mama is one of the weirdest people I know. Mostly because her and I are pretty much the same. And that’s why they work. They are weird together. It’s like your own little world that no one understands. In fact, most people think you are on drugs or something when you leave reality and enter that little world in public (Trust me. Our family–the three of us–definitely have one strange, little world we belong to). But that’s why it works. They are themselves and don’t try to hide the weirdness. The best example of that is what my mama posted on my daddy’s Facebook wall in honor of today. She wrote, “What do you want to marry me for anyhow?” To which he replied, “So I can kiss you anytime I want.” Obviously, Sweet Home Alabama is not as important in other houses as it is in ours considering my daddy can quote it almost as good as my mama and I. No normal people would think to do this and be excited to quote the best movie ever for their anniversary.
To go along with that, they also following the saying, “I love that I don’t have to be socially
acceptable around you.” They would not have a marriage if they had to act socially acceptable (I’m pretty sure no one would have a marriage if they had to act socially acceptable around each other. God knows my relationship would have been over before it even started). Things are said that would bring social leper status upon you in public. Hair is a mess. Burping contests take place. Clothes are disgusting or mismatched. They aren’t afraid to see each other at their worst, which means they deserve each other at their best. After all, they did vow for better or for worse so they have to stick it out through the good, the bad, the ugly and the socially unacceptable–especially because our house thrives on the socially unacceptable.
Now the next thing that keeps them going strong reminds me of something everyone’s favorite professor at our college says, “Happy girl mean happy relationship (He speaks really cute broken English).” Now, my boyfriend refuses to believe this is true but my daddy agrees. He’s really good at taking my mama’s hints and keeping her from going nuts on him. For example, the O’s open at home today. My mama kept hinting that it would be an excellent family anniversary present. Well, he tried but the prices were really ridiculous since you can’t buy Opening day tickets from the team unless you are a season ticket holder. However, my daddy got us tickets to tomorrow’s game as an anniversary outing. I assume there will be dinner tonight. Of course, she does things to make him happy, too. There are football games, cornhole tournaments, peanut butter cookies. While Paul is right that the girl is the reason for a happy relationship, there has to be happiness on both ends for it to last and I’m pretty sure my parents have it worked out pretty well.
“You fall in love with the most unexpected person at the most unexpected time” fits them pretty well, too. Okay, I’m not sure how expected love is when you’re a teenager. I’m a strong believer in that it’s rare and most teen relationships are built on lust and hormones. However, they’ve got a pretty good story. The first few times my parents met, my daddy was in trouble with the town cops for being…well, a boy. He was setting off firecrackers and being mean to a woman (He won’t admit to this day that is was mean). My mama didn’t really pay attention to him but then one day, she was going to the carnival with friends and they go, “Oh, hey. We have to go pick up Timmy.” He thought it was a date. Mama had no idea. And, yet, somehow here they are over two decades later. Sometimes it’s true that you find love when you aren’t looking for it.
Okay, the final reason I’m going to say comes from Lee Brice’s “Love Like Crazy” (I really like this song and him): “Be a best friend. Tell the truth. Overuse I love you. Go to Work. Do your best. Don’t outsmart your commonsense. Never let your praying knees get lazy. And love like crazy. Always treat your woman like a lady. Never get too old to call her baby. And love like crazy.” I think this is how it should be in every relationship. My great-grandparents were together forever and still in love at the end of their lives and lived by this. I think my parents do, too. They are each others’ best friend and “I love you” is said a lot in our house (I’m a strong believer in that you can’t say it too much). Commonsense is important in our family. It may not always get used but we know that it should have been in retrospect. Most of all, I think the end of the lyrics is the most important and true to their marriage. No one’s knees get lazy in this house. My mama prays for all of us so much that God probably gets tired of listening. Daddy is a traditionalist when it comes to how to treat a woman (With him around, chivalry will never be dead). His brother’s wife gets jealous because he always helps my mama put on her coat, holds the door for her, holds her hand, the stuff a real man does for the woman he loves. And, okay, Daddy doesn’t call mama “baby” but you hear “doll” and whatever other nicknames he decides to use a lot. I think that you have to have those little things like that in a relationship. It doesn’t always have to cute. It can be lovingly teasing but you have to have them. It’s like an inside joke that keeps the relationship fun.
My parents have showed me that even with a divorce rate so high and so many marriages failing, it is possible to fall in love and stay in love these days. We live in a time where when something gets hard or stops working right, we give up on it instead of fixing it. They don’t do that. Real love is hard but it takes work and in the end, you get something better than what those who gave up got. I’ve always believed in true love and figured every girl’s prince comes eventually. They are proof of that and the reason it’s been instilled in me.
Happy Anniversary, Mama and Daddy!