If you, as I, have seen The Princess Bride dozens of times, you laughed a little when you read the title to today’s post. If you have not seen this film, then it is lost on you totally and there is really no sense whatsoever in you continuing to read any further, unless perhaps you are bored or sleepless and if that’s the case, enjoy this little homage to my Dad and Mom. June 11th, my parent’s anniversary, is always a day for me to think about what love means to me, what it means to a family, and how it makes or breaks a life lived as well as possible. There are loves that are simply destined to fail, cause great heartache, end on very bad terms, or leave both or more parties gasping for a breath of air, and then there are those that just manage to thrive, despite the odds against them, or get better with time and patience, continue to grow and evolve, and straightforwardly manage to exist in a world that often makes it very, very hard for them to be. On June 13th, it will be my daughter and son-in-law’s 9th anniversary. I happen to be a person with the good fortune to be surrounded by love.
My father was once engaged to a different gal before he and my mom fell in love. My parents were friends over many years; he being a summer boy and she being an island girl, back when this barrier island to which we here at the shore are all connected, was not quite so populated, and most everyone knew or was at least acquainted with everyone else, or so I am told…and the story goes that my Dad was letting this fiance be in charge of saving for their future, and months later she took all the money they had saved and bought a guitar, and then he broke up with her, suffering (I can only assume) the realization she did not have the common sense that he was looking for in a mate…so it’s possible that I might have been a much cooler girl, had my mom been a guitar toting hippie chick from the beach, BUT I would not have the good fiscal sense and responsible money management ideals that I do have because my father ditched the hippie chick, weeks later went to the Ship Bottom pharmacy bar and had my mom make him a soda, asked her out on a date, and fell in love with her, and only eight weeks later they married; a polite, kind, organized, sensible, practical girl from the beach…life mate material. I’m quite sure neither of my parents ever gives a thought about the others past. I think they are just glad every day that they found each other, fell in love, and made a life together that they continue to take care of.
Neither of my parents does anything, well, there is no other way to put it, half-assed. If you ask my father to put in a shelf, run a water line, install a junction box, build a bed, fix a crack, design a picture frame, help you build your dream house…he does whatever the task at hand is with the care and precision of a genius surgeon, and to be clear, a master carpenter is exactly like a genius surgeon, but he puts together objects other than organs, skin, or bone. If you ask my mother to hem a pant leg, sew a button, fix a tape dispenser, find an error in your checkbook, put new covers on your barstools, help you draw your blueprints for your dream house…she too returns to you a professional job of anything she’s been asked to do. It seems to me, in this week of their anniversary that they love and care with the same attention to detail that they do everything else. Ergo, I suppose what I learned most from my parents is that you can’t expect top of the line results if you don’t look at the problem, job, task, or situation, from the perspective of a person who accepts only top of the line results. You have to want a positive outcome to get a positive outcome, be it in carpentry, sewing, or relationships.
I am the daughter of a great love story. My daughter is the daughter of something akin to a tragedy. Her daughters are the daughters of a boy and girl who fell in love at 18 years-old within days after meeting in South Carolina on spring break, a dramedy. We are all characters in this tale of love. Each of us has played roles at which we were quite skilled, Oscar nod worthy perhaps, and some we needed to develop more fully to even be considered for a Razzie …we act out our parts over the days of our lives in this family, we express ourselves with intense passion at times and with disconnected apathy at others, we are all flawed humans, but we are bound by the one thing that has no right way or wrong way to be...”this is true love- you think this happens every day?”