Monday, August 22, 2011

Forty One And Counting.....

It's not that you're any braver in youth than in maturity, you're just less experienced and a lot more naive. What? Listen to cautionary tales from your elders---old fossils! Of course I'd never have said so, but come on, my parents were in their fifties, ancient! What could they possibly know about being young and "in love"? For that matter, what did I know about any of that? But I was an expert, based on? Grimm's Fairy Tales? My vast [not!]experience with the opposite sex? The fact that I'd read every word of Archbishop Fulton Sheen's advice to lovelorn youth as serialized in the Sunday Independent? How is it possible to think oneself such an expert when one isn't? Youth. That must be the answer. A commodity, according to my father, wasted on the young! They weren't pushy, those ancient Irish parents of mine. Careful to acknowledge my grown-up-edness. Aware, perhaps, that too much protest would make us more determined. Not that that stopped the parents of the Foreigner. They protested long and loudly, even threatening to boycott the whole event. Which merely served to make their son dig his heels in all the harder. Still, a few tentative "Are you sures?" Brushed aside by Miss Know-It-All's "Of course!"

The day dawned  beautiful and sunshiny. Sixteen year old Blister looked stunning in pink, her hair a glossy brown mane. Mother looked every inch "mother of the bride" in a stylish cream dress, every hair coaxed into it's assigned place under her elegant little hat. Dad looked as ever, one of Nature's Gentlemen, lean as a thoroughbred, ears protruding, togged out in his best suit. Brother was scrubbed to beyond-recognition shininess, Gentleman's Quarterly how are you, in a collared shirt and tie and smart suit. Handsome Fr. Neville swished about in his soutane and his Cary Grant dimples, making all the ladies swoon, and curse Rome for making  priests celibate.......All the aunts and uncles were in from the country, in their Sunday best, eager to get a good look at "the Foreigner." The Foreigner himself  looked very spiffy in his double-breasted, dove-grey suit and his shiny new wing tips, which glisten still in his closet today, worn just the once! Behind his birth control glasses, the brown eyes that had been my undoing were as brown and handsome as ever. But, did they even know each other, these two who were about to promise for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, 'til death do us part? When the dust settled and the guests were gone, would they be tongue-tied and lost for words?

Dad made a big to-do of surreptitiously slipping a little satin draw-string purse into my hand at the reception. It contained several large, heavy crowns, old coins not in general circulation. They were a symbolic dowry, since Dad didn't have a stable of race horses, or forty head of Herefords to bestow on the Foreigner for taking me off his hands. They never made it out of The Old Ground. Because it was the height of foolishness to give them to me in the first place, in my excited and scatterbrained state. I often wonder who found them and if they felt good about keeping them....

And a week later, blithely kissing Mum and Dad goodbye at Shannon Airport, as though we were merely flying off to an adjacent county instead of the other side of the world and the rest of our lives, pretty much without them.

Who can put an old head on young shoulders? And would it even be wise, were it possible? Would the human race die out without the foolhardiness, innocence/ignorance, reckless abandon of youth?
Is it love that makes the world go around? Or is it sticking with the promises you made, gritting your teeth when the going gets tough, hanging in there when all you really want to do is run home, screaming, to mum and dad..........? Then one day, forty one years later, you find yourself sitting on the couch, blogging about it, trying to see the big picture, and you realize that now you are the ancient, irrelevant parent, you are the one anxious for them to choose wisely, you are the one trying not to be pushy, but asking tentatively "Are you sure?" The truth is no-one is ever sure. Life is like a swimming pool.  You just have to close your eyes and plunge in.

11 comments:

Thimbleanna said...

Wow Molly. A lovely, interesting, and touching post.

So much to think about. And all so true. Who knows what holds it all together. The love changes and grows, doesn't it? And probably wouldn't last if it weren't for that sticking with promises and gritting your teeth of which you speak.

I'll bet "they" thought you'd never last. "They" didn't think we would either. So, well, who knows?

Happy Anniversary Anyway!

lgsquirrel said...

You said it so well....we do need the passionate recklessness of youth but we then need the stability of commitment. Happy 41 and counting.

But how did the "Foreigner" and the lass from the Emerald Isle even meet in the first case?

Ali Honey said...

Happy Anniversary Molly. Strangely my parents didn't say those things. Maybe they thought R an improvement on some of the previous boyfriends I had had.
Well after 43 and a half years and a lot of teeth gritting we are still together and working together on a daily basis. ( perhaps better the devil ....etc )
I am sure your sense of humour will have helped you hang in there, but leaving those emerald ilses ...Florida can't be as pretty? You have the green memories as I do too, now.
Hugs from Ali.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

It always amazes me how we , in our youthful enthusiasm , pick someone virtually at random and promise to spend the rest of our lives together !
But , with humour , hardwork and a lot of luck it can work . And the family you build together is the best life's work there is .

aubirdwoman said...

yep bin there dun that.
Happy Anniversay Mollie and The Foreigner.
Life is like Learning to Play the Violin (in public)

Meggie said...

Lovely post. Congratulations, on your 41 years.
It made me smile- they told us it would never last...I kept saying it might not. Now it is ended, with death, but it did last.

persiflage said...

Ah, young love! Congratulations on those 41 years, and the five children. It is a pity about losing those coins.
I had about the same length of time, but divided by two. What a a lovely post this is.
I related strongly to the one about your childhood and the unsupervised ramblings - as my sisters and brothers and I went out day after day, and our parents would have had no idea of where we were or what we did.It was all pretty safe, and we were innocent and good little children...It is all so different now.

fifi said...

Indeed.


What a lovely lovely post.

Julie's journey said...

Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. Happy anniversary!

Stomper Girl said...

Happy Anniversary! I loved th story of your wedding.

Isabelle said...

Yeahwell. You know what I think about THAT sort of thing...

Happy Anniversary all the same...