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In May of 1979 my father, the veteran of 3 failed marriages, then living happily with his girlfriend, sat my boyfriend and I down in the living room, and explained that he'd married three times for the wrong reason. He'd married because he'd seen the beauty and the potential in 3 women, and then these women had failed to change in the ways he'd expected them to do. He explained that marriage put certain societal expectations on a woman, and living together without marriage put a different set of expectations on her. As an unmarried woman people would be more accepting of my putting my priority on my needs and my career, whereas as part of a married couple, they'd expect me to subsume a certain amount of who I was and who I wanted to be into the needs of my husband's career. We were free to choose our path, but couldn't we consider living together, just for a little while?

I'd made a promise to my father that I wouldn't get engaged until he'd had a chance to have his say, and that I'd listen to him with an open heart and mind. I kept my word. I took in all he had to say. We both said that his points were very valid, and we'd consider them. My dad, who is early to bed and early to rise (the night owl biology is all from the other side of the family) said his goodnights and went up to bed.

My boyfriend looked at me, and I looked at him, drowning, as I always do, in his black-lashed blue eyes with the best eye-crinkles of happiness when he smiles.

"Will you marry me?" he said quietly.

I didn't hesitate for a moment. I knew this one was the one: honest and honorable, loyal, loving, and true, intelligent, with a quick, clever sense of humor and the ability to laugh at himself and the conviction that people are good and compromise and finding the win-win solution is the way to live, committed to leaving the world better than he found it, and stubborn enough to ensure that I couldn't just out-stubborn him and win, and yet flexible enough to know when to stand up for his point of view and when to give way, and very, very, very patient. We'll skip over the incidental facts that he's lean (still!) and tall, with unrepentant dark hair that is now shading into "distinguished", and very good in bed, because you don't want to know that. [font="unrepentant"]Oh. Oops.[/font="unrepentant"]

"Yes," I whispered. Much huggage ensued.

The next morning my father took it well.

"I wanted you to make an informed decision," he said. "One that's right for you."

"I did, Dad" I said.

"Good"

Which means that on this day in May, thirty-three years ago, we married. Like all couples, we've had our hard times and our easy times, our good days and our bad (and for some reason we have a positive talent for scheduling our bad days on the same day- it's a gift) but I can honestly say that our decision to marry is one we have never regretted, even for an instant. Dad was right to warn me, because when society tried to put its pressures and expectations on me, I could see them as such, and act accordingly.

A year later, seeing how little our marriage had spoiled our relationship, my dad and his girlfriend snuck down to city hall, and found a justice of the peace to marry them. They have been very happy together. She was the right one, the one he loved for who she was, no alterations needed.

Are we doing anything special today? Well, small gifties, but nothing much else. We're waiting for September 13th, when we will hire a sitter and go out for a Very Fancy Dinner to celebrate 33 1/3 years (a third of a century!) together.

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
ziparumpazoo
May. 13th, 2013 08:50 pm (UTC)
to celebrate 33 1/3 years (a third of a century!) together

This appeals to the number geek in me. :D

But seriously, congratulations on the achievement, in spite of society's pressures. Your father is a very wise man.
(mine, on the other hand, used to joke about how he left the ladder under mine and my sister's bedroom window in case we wanted to elope - 12 years together this summer and we still haven't taken my father up on that part of the offer. ;)
thothmes
May. 15th, 2013 04:48 am (UTC)
I imagine that by now your father is probably a little concerned instead that you might use the ladder to sneak back in, possibly all four of you, with all the energy your boys bring!

We're definitely number geeks here too, so that timing appealed naturally to us. It helps too that the local innkeeper can make us a fabulous meal, but with my special dietary restrictions, he needs a bit of warning so he can come up with something really good, and we... em... forgot. Now we have four more months to get our act together and give him a heads up!
sjhw_tolerance
May. 13th, 2013 10:09 pm (UTC)
Congratulations! What a lovely story about your Dad.
thothmes
May. 15th, 2013 04:50 am (UTC)
Thank you. My mom is the one to go to for practical, day to day advice, and Dad is the one for the Big Picture stuff. I'm deeply grateful that he too was able to find his happy ending, because he needed that.
amenirdis
May. 13th, 2013 10:31 pm (UTC)
Congratulations!
thothmes
May. 15th, 2013 04:52 am (UTC)
Thank you.
crazedturkey
May. 14th, 2013 12:05 am (UTC)
Dawwww.

Happy anniversary!
thothmes
May. 15th, 2013 04:54 am (UTC)
Thank you.

May you be having enough fun with your marriage that your 33rd anniversary seems to rush in as fast as ours did!
mrspollifax
May. 14th, 2013 01:08 am (UTC)
Aww. Happy anniversary!
thothmes
May. 15th, 2013 04:56 am (UTC)
In answer to your icon:

Why, yes, as a matter of fact!

We had a lovely anniversary. There was shrimp. There was alone time. Very satisfactory indeed.
wanderingsmith
May. 14th, 2013 01:35 am (UTC)
because when society tried to put its pressures and expectations on me, I could see them as such, and act accordingly.
Funny how some people think advice is only meant to be followed or ignored as a whole and neglect to see that acknowledging a truth does not necessarily mean reacting to it the way the person wants. This, on the other hand, is to me the true wisdom :)

-salute- to both of you for 33 years together.
and lol@ both of your geekiness showing in smiling at a third of a century :D
thothmes
May. 15th, 2013 05:00 am (UTC)
Oh, yeah, we're geeks here. We kind of pride ourselves on it.

Yes, the important part of advice is hearing it and evaluating it. Not all advice is useful right-away-now, but it may come in handy later on. One of the lovely things about both of my parents is that they really taught me to make my own decisions, and didn't try to live through me like some of my friends' parents did. They were very good at understanding that what was right for them was not necessarily going to be right for me.
bluewillowtree
May. 14th, 2013 05:06 am (UTC)
Congratulations and Happy Anniversary!

Also, I think it's awesome in all senses of the word that you inspired your dad and his now-wife to get married. I think he made thoughtful and intelligent points, but I do love a happy ending, and two are even better!</p>

*hugs*

thothmes
May. 15th, 2013 05:09 am (UTC)
I'm so glad that my dad had the courage to try marriage one final time. It has been a truly wonderful thing in his life and it made a big difference to him, to have done it and succeeded after so many failures.

My mom is the person I go to when I want practical advice. She's a wise woman, but our viewpoints are often very similar, so I don't often have to lean on her for wisdom, because we approach situations in much the same way. She's marvelous, though, in knowing how systems work, and what the technical and legal considerations might be in a given situation.

My father has seldom tried to give me advice. He doesn't see himself as being older and wiser very often. He says he's still a little surprised (at nearing 77!) to be included at the grown-up table. Still, on those few occasions when he has offered his wisdom, it has been very, very important for the course of my life, and well worth listening to, even if I don't immediately act on it.
latetothesj
May. 14th, 2013 12:25 pm (UTC)
Wow. Big congrats! I love hearing stories like that--gives me hope and happiness. Happy anniversary!

Edited at 2013-05-14 03:56 pm (UTC)
thothmes
May. 15th, 2013 05:10 am (UTC)
Thank you. I'm glad to be spreading joy!
traycer_
May. 14th, 2013 02:19 pm (UTC)
Happy belated anniversary! Or maybe it could be an early happy anniversary seeing as you're going to wait to celebrate... Aw heck. Enjoy them both!! :) You deserve that and so much more!!
thothmes
May. 15th, 2013 05:15 am (UTC)
I have enjoyed shall enjoy my anniversary celebrations! We probably would have settled for celebrating on the day, like most folks, but we kind of left getting reservations at the local inn a little late. I have some special dietary considerations, and the local innkeeper can make something fabulous for me that is special but meets all my requirements with sufficient warning. This way we get to satisfy our inner number geeks and get a really special meal too. Win-win!
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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- an Ancient Egyptian Love Song

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may Amun give me what I have found
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Up in the morning early;
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Moss covered paths between scarlet peonies,
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