I will never forget the day we were married. My husband asked me to bring containers to the wedding so we could take some food away with us. We had finger sandwiches, which was very cutting edge for that many years ago, vegetable trays and cake. So I brought the containers and the caterers filled the containers and I forgot them at the church. We hadn’t gotten far away when my new husband asked about the food. I admitted I left them and he turned around and went back for the food. When we pulled back into the church parking lot, the only two people still standing there were our fathers. Talking, smiling and I am sure reminiscing about the day. They asked what we forgot and I said, “Our little sandwiches.” Jim’s dad said, “I hope I never get that hungry.” He still remembers that and every year we are with him on our anniversary he makes us little sandwiches. It is such a part of our life that when our daughter got married she had the caterer make her grandfather “little sandwiches”.
Over the years, those dads have become good friends. They always visited each other regularly and once Jim’s dad moved to Florida, my mom and dad would always stop and see him when they went to Florida. Once they even took a mini vacation together. Not all in-laws would do that but they did.
Fast forward that story to three and a half years ago when they began living together here at this house. This was never planned. I never dreamed all our parents would live together under my roof. Jim’s mom has been dead for years so she never lived with us. It often makes me think of the movie Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. When Charlie won the golden ticket, he took it home and all four of his grandparents were together in bed: heel, toe, heel, and toe. We never had to live in those close quarters but three parents lived here together. The dads became best of friends. They would sit together out back and watch the pond for hours. There was little talking that went on. Just watching and being comfortable with the companionship they had. Being friends is often being silent when you don’t know what to say. They would sit on the couch and never speak; often one or both of them dozing off to sleep. They shared a bond that most people never get to share even in their dementia. They knew they had a friend and they knew they were loved.
I never dreamed life would turn out this way but it has. As hard as some days are, I have been blessed to be such an intimate part of their lives. To be a part of the “for better or for worse” is a day to day part of life that few people get to experience or should I say want to experience. I will forever be changed by this experience. I pray that the changes within me are for the good. Scripture tells us to “honor they father and they mother”. (Deuteronomy 5:16). I believe I have done that. I also believe your parents don’t have to live with you for you to honor them so don’t have any guilt feelings about your parents not being in your house. I have tried to always honor them. I believe when I had in-laws they become parents I needed to honor also.
So that brings us back to those vows: vows to be kept no matter what, no matter how hard and no matter how easy. That young couple have a lot of living to do. Their lives will be filled with adventure if they choose to look at it that way and no matter what may happen, until death due them part. That is where my life will finally end and my vows will end with it, until death do us part.
As Erma Bombeck said, “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body. But rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, WOW!!! What a ride!” I thank the Lord for that ride and for the ride He continues to take me on.