Three years have raced by since my precious mother and step dad, both widowed for over a decade, took another risk on committed love. On August 20, 2011, they stood before God, family and friends to vow their lives and love to one another. They spoke words some consider “old-fashioned”. Words like “to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; until death do us part.”
The only thing old-fashioned was that these two individuals meant every syllable of the vows they shared. More than words repeated after a clergy’s utterance, Mom and Pops looked deep into the eyes of their beloved and with conviction blessed by God, they promised to be there for each other come what may. Their articulated commitment was heartfelt, rich, and real.
Three years may not seem like much to younger folks. But to anyone who is counting that’s 1093 sunsets shared side by side. It’s 3279 meals prayed over together. Three years is 26,232 hours lived in service to one another. Endless chores carried out in humility, without grumbling. Unnumbered “I love you”s and hugs. Smiles and laughter spent holding hands during walks around the farm at dusk. Holidays shared with hungry mobs from a large blended family and over 100 birthday cards signed together. Three years means numerous trips to doctors as Mom continues her battle with bone cancer and Pops his bout with relentless back pain. Three years of almost weekly shared goodbyes at funerals of life-long friends and loved ones. Three years of countless prayers and tears over heartbreaks and suffering in our family. Three years included naturally occurring frustrations when one must adjust to another imperfect human living under the same roof. Disagreements and disappointments, followed by grace and forgiveness because they realize three years is a gift that unfolded one day at a time and tomorrow is never guaranteed.
Much courage is required of people who love. Karen and Dick Rodriguez are two of the most courageous people I know. Choosing late in life to risk loving so unselfishly and sacrificially, they are my heroes. They honor their vows every day for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer. In sickness and in health, they love and cherish. In doing so they honor the family they love so dearly. More importantly, they honor the God who brought them together to form this beautiful union.
Happy Three Year Anniversary, Mom and Pops, with much love from your kids and grand kids!