Today, 30 years ago, I married the love of my life. He was 25 and I was 24.
We gave our promise to one another in a small church, in a small town, with a significant proportion of the community witnessing the event. I had two beautiful bridesmaids:
We also enjoyed the performance of seven little 'impromptu' flower girls.
(These were little cousins' children who all dressed in white and walked down the isle before me, sprinkling petals on the carpet as they went.)
My godmother played the church organ and composed a 'surprise' song which the congregation sang to us. It was a real 'farm community' wedding and it was wonderful!
BUT So much went wrong that day:
*** Our Master-of-ceremonies' wife backed her car into my little car
(so we had to borrow a car for our honeymoon)
*** a plague of caterpillars destroyed the local carnation farm - after I was promised as many flowers as I wanted for the occasion. In the end, I had very few wedding flowers. We had to pluck the blossoms of the frangipani tree for my bouquet.
*** Unfortunately the main 'chicken dish' on our wedding menu was tainted, so many of our guests went home with food poisoning that day.
*** The humidity set in and rain clouds descended in their masses.
*** My mom-in-law ironed a hole through her dress.
Well, despite all the calamities that day, the occasion was truly memorable. I remember all the farm workers gathering under the old fig tree on the farm - to sing African songs of prosperity, longevity and fertility. It obviously worked because we've survived to tell the tale of 30 wonderful years of marriage!
Today, I took out my wedding dress from its haven. It's still beautiful and, rightfully, dated:
The lace is still delicate and intact...
The little flowers are still stitched well and still show their delicacy...
...and, true to form, my wonderful husband has sent me a magnificent bouquet of flowers...
The joy of being together for 30 years is that we have witnessed one another's lives. I've had Les "watching my back" and he has had me watching his. We've loved and cherished one another during this time. The grey hair which we currently sport tells of years of living well: we've raised two beautiful and very talented daughters and have been able to watch them blossom and reach for their dreams. In the 30 years of being together we rode the crests of good times and swam, together, through the rough patches. We've experienced the fullness and the 'wholeness' of life in all its glory. And we've done this TOGETHER!
If I look back, I know that I could not have married a better man. Les has been a wonderful husband and exemplary father. He's loved me when I've been at my most unlovable. He's showered me in love, hope, faithfulness and commitment in all this time. He's supported his family throughout and ensured that I remain 'whole'. He has helped shape our beautiful pearl called 'our marriage'. I, in turn, have tried to do the same.
It's fitting that this is our 'Pearl' wedding anniversary. 30 eventful years!!! A pearl is a hard object produced within the soft tissue of a living shell. It has become a metaphor for something very rare, fine, admirable and valuable. That is exactly what our marriage has become - a unique and beautiful pearl!
Thank you, Les, for all you have come to mean to me. Thank you for loving me, for being faithful to me, for witnessing my life, for supporting me and our children, for believing in me when I'd lost hope, for always 'being there' and for never, ever forgetting any birthday or anniversary. Boy, you need a medal!
I love you, dear hubby.
I wish us both a wonderful, celebratory anniversary.
Cheers to the next 30!
Cheers to the next 30!