"We were both juniors in high school when your father walked me, well, more like followed me out to my car at lunch one day. When I finally gave him my attention he just said, 'Go to prom with me.' I hesitated. Your father was a popular jock in school and that's not the type of guy I typically went for. But he had a kindness about him that set him apart. Before I could really answer your father continued, 'Just tell me, yes or no. Cause I'm gonna go get my tux right now and we're gonna have a lot of fun so just say yes.' To be honest, I kind of liked how direct he was and figured why not give him a chance, see what he was really about. And your father was right, we did have fun. And we still do."
There are a lot of articles about love. It's all you need, it's what makes the world go round, it conquers all... We love Love. As I sit down to write about the greatest love story I've ever known, I am overwhelmed by gratitude that my parents are the first to come to mind. I haven't just heard of this great love story, I am blessed enough to have witness a large majority of it. So, what makes this story different? Well, it has been 32 years of marriage and counting and my parents still like each other. I mean, really like each other. Crazy, huh?
Wendell and Rhonda Crow were married on June 13, 1981 on the farm my dad, and later I, grew up on. It was a lieu and, like most events my dad is a part of, it was a party. A celebration of love. My dad finally got the girl he had always wanted. There were bumps in the road that lead to the alter but my dad knew she'd find her way to him. And he did not give up until he could call her his own.
Since that day, they have pretty much been inseparable. Seriously. I mean, these two wake up together, cook together, work the dairy together, eat together, work the dairy again together and fall asleep together just to wake up the next day and do it again...together. I don't know about you but I just might need a little (by that I mean a lot of) alone time.
I called my mom yesterday to chat about her married life. She was stuck in 5 o'clock traffic from attending one of the rare meetings that happens off the farm and I planned to do some digging of my own. My first question for my mother was obvious: "How do you do it?"
"(laughs) Oh honey, sometimes I'm not sure either.. I guess that it has to be the fact that your father is my best friend. I know that sounds cliche but it's the truth. I enjoy my alone time, I do, but eventually you want to share what you thought was funny or talk about what's frustrating you with someone.. and for me that person is always your dad.
We are also from the same generation. We hear a song and it takes us back to similar times and things in our lives. We love a good party and we both love to dance. Your father will always dance with me, no matter where we are. I adore that about him. That and the fact that as much as we are alike we are different. We are extremes. He's 6'5", I'm 5 feet tall. He likes to take risks, I like to play by the rules. He likes to talk to everyone in the grocery line, I like to stick my nose in a magazine. We balance each other out. We bring out each other's strengths through our personal weaknesses."
Really, mom? Don't set the bar too high for me now. If I didn't know them, I would be calling BS. But it's true. Spend 5 minutes with these two and you will be wanting to braid personalized BFF bracelets for the amorous couple.
"So what was it that made you want to marry dad? What qualities stood out?"
"Well, his sincere faith in God and our shared love for family and animals is the foundation. And I like to think we have built a strong one. But the quality that I admire most about your father is that he is a man of his word. If he says he's going be somewhere, he's there. If he says he's going to do something, he does it. I think that's why people naturally gravitate towards him. It is unfortunately rare to really be able to rely on someone these days. You can truly trust your father. When we got married I already had a son and back then that wasn't the norm. But you're father isn't the norm either. He seeks the good in others and he knew I was a catch. He loved your brother as his own and still does. Nothing stands in the way of what your father believes to be true."
Crap. My father is superman. Let's hope Batman still has a single son out there somewhere. Or else I'm screwed in the are-you-good-enough-for-my-little-girl game.
"What do you think is wrong with marriage today? Why do you think the divorce rate is so high?" was next on the list.
"It's not that anything is wrong with marriage today, marriage was, is and always will be tough. The divorce rate is high because it's easier to get a divorce now. When women ask me how in the hell I have stayed happily married all this time, my answer is simple: we just didn't get a divorce. For some relationships it is the right answer. There is absolutely no excuse for physical or mental abuse. Some people do not belong together. But I believe that if you still think that person has a good heart and you were able to look them in the eyes at one point and dedicate your life to one another, that you just need to fight for it. Fight for what was once there. Through compromise and forgiveness it can be attained again."
"Wow, mama that was beautiful." I responded.
"Well, now, don't go getting me wrong. It is not rainbows and butterflies for me and your dad. Sometimes I wanna kill him but I don't because I love him... and because make up sex is a great thing. I think a lot of people forget that important fact."
OH LANDS. There's the TMI mother I know so well. I mean, I'm super glad my parents love each other enough to still do 'it' but it never gets easier to hear. I even know where I was conceived. Ski slope, Northern AZ, mountainside. They couldn't even wait to get back to the cabin. That was an unwanted fun fact, believe me, I'm aware. But I do love the fact that they were so crazy about each other that they couldn't wait to make me. I may not have been planned but I wasn't a one night stand either. I won the race in the name of love. I kinda like that.
"Any advice for the single ladies out there mama?" I really wanted this answer.
"I guess my advice would be to look for a real man. And if you can find a spontaneous one then you've really got it made. I never had to plan dates with your dad. When your father takes me out there is always an element of surprise, even if it is a small one. I never have to come up with the dates--unless I want to. It wouldn't matter if your dad had reservations somewhere for six months, if I was craving something else, then that was where we would go. My happiness is his happiness and his is mine. We both have our ways of showing it.
It also helps that we enjoy a lot of the same things too. As much as we love to dance the night away, we are just as happy camping somewhere quiet. Simple things make us happy. Like good conversations with good friends and family.. We just seek a lot of the same things in life."
Damn, I love my mama. Just thought I'd throw it out there.
Last question: "Is it everything you had hoped for? Being married to dad?"
"Well, yeah! I got all of you! I remember as a little girl praying to God at night. I would pray with all my might that I would marry a farmer, have lots of animals and two boys and two girls. I know it seems unrealistic but it happened. He really heard me. It may not have been immediate or an easy road but what worth having is?"
Hearing things like this from my mom throughout my life is one of the many gifts she has given me. As much as this sounds like a fairy tale, it's not. Life gets tough for all of us, our relationships included. But something I love that my parents have instilled in all four us is that there is no one that replaces family. The love is unconditional and the forgiveness runs deep. No matter what problem any of us face, it can be guaranteed there will be 10 other hands to help you drag it in the a place it is sure to be dealt with: Home.