Friday, October 2, 2015

45 years

Forty five years is a long time in anyone’s language. 

A lot of things can happen in 45 years.  In Australia we have had 12 Prime Ministers, we got out of one war and been involved in three others.  There have been world catastrophes both from human hand and Mother nature.  There have in fact been too many events to list.  So what does 45 years mean to you? 

My parents celebrated 45 years of marriage a week ago today.  Wow, you guys are awesome!  Like events on a national or world scale, marriages are full of lots of different things filled with joy, sadness, frustration, and happiness.  A marriage like life brings with it a roller coaster of events and emotions.  It is how, together as a couple you ride that roller coaster that will determine whether when you look back you appreciate the ride of life of not. 

Mum met Dad when he was serving out his time for National Service.  Dad was posted to Canberra and it is easy to see how they fell for each other.  Mum being a gorgeous 60’s gal in the typing pool and Dad being a Buddy look alike in uniform.  

Dad 1969

Mum 1969

Wedding 1970 

They started their married life in Queanbeyan before Dad’s time was up and they moved to Sydney.  For Dad to head back to work at the Bank of NSW as it was called then.  Soon after the move their little family of two became a family of three when I came along.  

Soon after my little brother Sean joined us to make us a nice little family of four.  

Sean on the day he came home    
  Sean and I

  Our little family of four

As a family of four we had lots of adventures, thanks in part to Dad’s work in the bank and in part because Mum and Dad wanted to give us lots of great memories to build our lives on.  
Our first move was from Sydney to Melbourne where we lived until just after I started school.  We moved back to Sydney and we stayed put for a little while.  Dad had an amazing opportunity with work to take us as a family to Suva, Fiji to live for a couple of years.  

Suva markets 

I can’t imagine how scary that was for everyone.  This was back in 1981 when we moved!  Back in a time of no internet so to communicate with friends and family it was mostly letters.  International calls were booked and cost a fortune.  I honestly can’t imagine what they were thinking, but boy, did we have an amazing time!  My brother & I had a great time swimming, playing and school.  We had the most amazing long weekends to the Coral Coast (on dirt roads!) staying at the resorts there.  We also went on tiny planes to island holidays with other families.  

In Fiji 

Our grandparents came to visit and we had more wonderful times exploring the holiday hot spots with them.  Then it was time to come home, we flew home first class probably the only time that will ever happen!  I remember Art Garfunkel being in first class with us, ahhh imagine that a singing legend and two pesky kids!  Our time in Fiji was something I will always treasure, we made some great memories, lifelong friends that we are still in touch with today and I survived two years without proper TV.  As much as I can’t imagine picking my kids up and moving almost anywhere, the memories and experiences you gave us moving to Fiji are irreplaceable.  Fiji will always hold a special place in my heart.  Thank you.  

Our last weekend in Fiji at the Travelodge

Coming back to Australia meant coming back home to real life.  This transition was easier for some of us than others, but it wasn’t long before we were off on our next big adventure.  We were headed to Disneyland, England and Europe!  Thank you.  

Heading off on our world trip

When we got home life was back to the familiar routine of school, work, sports and weekends for all of us.  Of course as is life there were plenty of curve balls coming our way.  My teenage were a delight for everyone.  My brother’s driving gave Mum & Dad more than one reason for concern.  Somehow, we all survived.  I think this has a lot to do with Dad’s incredible patience and Mum’s incredible love for us all, we didn’t only survive we still loved each other at the end.  

Our family expanded to a family of five when Sean & Jeannine got married.  Soon after Andrew became a regular fixture too when we got married.  Mum and Dad you showed me that a strong lasting marriage is not who lives through the good times but how we get through the tough times that is far more important.  

Over the next few years at fairly regular intervals we increased the size of our family with the adored grandchildren Zac, Lachlan, Charlotte & Lillian, Henry & Dylan.  After nearly 37 years we were complete, their once little family of two had swelled to 12.  

We have faced more than a few curve balls in the last few years - but through it all the cornerstones of our family Mum & Dad have been there for us all.  Their steadfast love for each other has enabled them to support and teach Sean and I all our lives.  They have been amazing roles models through their work ethic, love, compassion and so much more.  In fact they have so many great qualities as a couple, sibling, parent, child and friend there are too many to list.  

Dad retired a few years ago and Mum is still working part time.  They are amazing grandparents to all of our children who just adore spending time with them, whether they are going fishing or having fires and eating burnt marshmallows.  A coupe of years ago Mum was able to fulfil her dream of taking the whole family back to Disneyland in Anaheim , to share the experience that Sean and I had with our children.  

The 12 of us in Disneyland

This year has been a particularly tough one for my little family and through it all the strong family bond that Mum and Dad have fostered since we were born has helped us through everything.  Mum and Dad taught us that it is the sickness in “sickness & health” and the bad in “good & bad” that we can never plan for but we need to be there the most for each other.  Just like we all stood by Sean’s family when they faced their family challenge a few years ago.  

Mum and I 

Mum and Dad this is for you.  Congratulations on 45 years.  You are both such amazing people and fantastic role models to me personally.  I can only hope that when Andrew & I celebrate our 45 years that our children will look back over our lives and feel the same way.  If we have been half the example that you have been to us then we will have done well. Love you both. 

Cathy xoxo 

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