Tuesday, June 25, 2013

50 Years ❤

On June 23rd, 1963, my grandparents, Teodoro and Luisa, tied the knot. I doubt if you asked them back then how they saw their life, they wouldn't imagine having 5 kids, 3 daughter in-laws, 2 son in-laws, 20 grandkids, and 1 great-grandchild in the course of 50 years. Or maybe they did haha. Who knows? It's funny though, when I look at my grandparents it's crazy to think that they're celebrating 50 years of marriage because in my eyes they're forever 60-something years old. Clearly that's not possible unless they got married at the age of 10. I don't think I've ever met anyone else that has been married for that long or even close! I wonder if it even feels like they've been married for that long or if it felt like it flew by. Mahal and I aren't married (yet), but we joke around at how long we've been a couple as we approach our 8 year anniversary this fall.

As I prepare to leave for California this weekend to be with my family to celebrate my grandparent's anniversary, I start to do a little reflection on life overall. It actually makes me smile a bit to think about it all. In a world where Americans have a 50% divorce rate, growing up in a family where my parents divorced when I was 5 years old, and a majority of my friends all grew up in divorced households, I never realized that here were my grandparents, standing the test of time. I feel like it's such a beautiful thing. It warms my heart that they were able to find that one person in their life that they wanted to spend the rest of their life with. To buy a house with, build a family, and grow old with together. It makes me happy to know that with all the negativity surrounding relationships and how easily people turn to divorce as a solution to easily, I had the two best role models out there that showed me that true love does still exist.

I don't think they realized how much their marriage has impacted me as their granddaughter. I have nothing but fond memories growing up watching them interact, seeing how well they complemented each other. My grandma would joke that she waited until the last minute to retire because if she stayed at home all day with my grandpa she would go crazy haha. I know she was just kidding (sorta), but it was the little things they did for each other that I remember most. They always told me that as you evolve in a relationship, silence isn't always a bad thing. You still learn things about one another as the years pass and not saying words every two seconds doesn't always mean you're too comfortable with each other or love is fading. I kind of started to realize that now that I have my own little family. Every morning, my grandparents had a similar routine. They woke up at around 5:30am, and Grandpa already had a pot of coffee ready for Grandma. He'd serve them both a cup as they sat at the kitchen table, and they'd sit there in silence. Grandpa would do his daily crossword puzzle in the newspaper while Grandma sat there quietly eating her buttered toast and stare out the window to the peacefulness of the backyard.

 Once the rest of the house started to wake up, Grandpa would start to cook breakfast while Grandma started cleaning things around the house that she's probably already wiped down or swept three times previously (she was a clean freak haha). They'd chat with each other as they crossed paths and would continue in this fashion until it was time to drive grandma to work (she was a nurse). They'd have a cute conversation on the way to her job, then tell each other "I love you" and kissed each other goodbye when they arrived at her job. I guess from a distance, with all the hustle and bustle of life, their routine didn't seem like a big deal. However, my grandma says it's the little things that she loves. Grandpa knows just how she liked her coffee and she appreciates that he has it ready for her when she gets up in the morning. She knows that he loves doing the crossword so she pulls that section out of the newspaper for him and places it at his spot at the kitchen table. Even though Grandma can drive herself to work, Grandpa wanted to drive her. He worried about her since she didn't work in nicest side of town so he'd rather drop her off and pick her up right in front of the hospital to make sure she's safe. The little things.

Don't you just love my Grandma's tights?

My grandparents mean the world to me and from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank them. They've taught me so many life lessons over the years and now that I'm in this new chapter in life of parenthood, adulthood, and relationships, they continue to show me that some things in life aren't as tainted as people think. They remind me that love requires a lot of work, especially 50 years down the line. Sometimes it's a give and take.  They also remind me that compromise and communication is key (even if it's silent communication sometimes). They show me that even though life can be chaotic, it's the little things that make all the difference. That you need to still take care of each other and nurture your relationship even with 5 kids and 20 grandkids down the line. I don't remember them ever sleeping apart. They pray together, kiss each other goodnight, and cuddle until they fall asleep. I love that my grandparents are able to celebrate their 50th anniversary together and I was around to witness their love evolve throughout the years. They even made it special and celebrated where it all began, the Philippines. They arrive back in the States today so they can celebrate it with the kids and grandkids as well. I know Mahal and I aren't married (yet), but I look forward to the "silent love" as funny as that sounds. I hope that one day we'll be able to celebrate our 50th anniversary just like my grandparents one day, and be proud of the family and couple we'll become over the years too.

What's the best piece of marriage advice you've ever received?