Tag Archive | anniversary

The best I ever had

Here’s the song reference.

Nine years ago, I married the love of my life, the song in my heart, the light of my eyes.  Without him, there would be no Dailymomprayers.  It is something of a family joke that our priest obtained dispensation for our marriage to take place on All Saints’ Day figuring, having met the two of us, that we would probably need the intercession of the entire communion of saints along the way.  I’m of Irish descent.  He is of Italian descent.  Our kids got both, and there are certain stereotypes about tempers that are funny because they’re true.  And yet, here we are, still very much in love and still building our family by the grace of God.

Last night, after I had finished writing the blog post, Manie looked at me and grinned.  If you are a regular reader of this blog, the conversation that ensued will probably make you smile, but not surprise you.

“So what do you want to do tomorrow?”

“I don’t know.  It would be nice to go out to dinner.  When I talked to your mom this morning, I asked her if maybe we could come over for dinner.”

“I feel awful.  I didn’t get you anything.”

“I didn’t get you anything either.  I didn’t even get a card!”

“I’m a rotten husband.  Come on, there has to be something you want.”

“Yeah, a nap.  Really, it would be nice to go out to dinner.”

“We should probably do something with a play area.”

We left it at that, and curled up to watch the end of Apollo 18.  The movie was forgettable, but the company was terrific.

Although he was off today, Manie went into work for an hour to get a couple of things off his desk.  By the time he came home, Bugaboo and Beanie had finished their breakfast and were attempting to coordinate a raid on the Halloween candy.  The secret to their lack of success was their inability to agree who would be the mission leader.  I suppose I need to work on teaching them to cooperate, but it’s so terribly convenient when their bickering over who gets to be in charge keeps them out of the pantry.  While the girls were having their breakfast, Deedaw called to see if we might, perhaps, like to come over for lunch.  That sounded like a terrific idea, so I offered to run to Wegmans and bring lunch.  Nonno was in the hospital again last week, and is still a little weak and weary from it, so I didn’t want to put Deedaw to a lot of trouble cooking unless she was looking for a diversion.

Deedaw liked the Wegmans idea, so when Manie came home, he helped me get Mr. Man and Baby Guy some waffles to eat and clothes to wear, after which we bundled the bambini into the van and headed off to acquire the makings of an anniversary lunch.  Suffice it to say that sushi, cream of crab soup, salad and a roast chicken were involved.  We had a feast indeed for the Feast of All Saints; it was good to see Nonno and Deedaw laughing.

After lunch, we trooped home and settled the tiny people in for a desperately-needed nap, then sprawled ourselves across the loveseat (he) and the couch (me) to relish a few moments of quiet relaxation.  We talked for a while about things we needed to do later in the week, had a desultory discussion of some long-range plans, then enjoyed a warm silence for a bit.  I was pondering, with great wonder, the miracle of our little family, recalling the years before the children came, when we prayed and prayed to be entrusted with even one little life on this earth,and our joy when He answered our prayer with Bugaboo, then answered it again thirteen months later with Beanie, twenty-two months after that with Mr. Man, and fifteen months after that with Baby Guy.  For the record, there are presently no buns in the oven, as it were.  As I considered, smiling, that vow we made, nine years ago, to welcome new life joyfully, I realized there was a pretty good opportunity for a somewhat unorthodox prayer of thanksgiving to our mighty and merciful Lord.

“Hey, I know where I want to go for dinner tonight.”

“Okay . . .”

“Let’s take the tribe to Chuck E. Cheese.”

“Perfect.  We’ll have fun!”

And so, there we were, planning our anniversary dinner at the Rodent Redoubt, thanking God for blessing us with the children who made us want to do such a thing.  He and I agree that there will be many years for the quiet, intimate dinners at fancy restaurants, but the Temple of the Rat years are precious and few.  So, for now, we trade neckties and pearls for strings of plastic beads and mouse stickers . . . and count it as the most extraordinary of blessings, worth savoring and cherishing.

Afterwards, when the kids were loaded into the van for the ride home, Manie and I paused for a moment.  We looked at each other, started giggling, wrapped our arms around each other and chorused, “Best . . . anniversary dinner . . . ever!”

Today’s prayer:  Lord, You have blessed our marriage with love, laughter, strength, and grace.  Your design, from the beginning, was that two should become one in flesh and spirit, and we praise you for Your wisdom.  Thank You for blessing us with children, and for the wisdom to recognize the beauty, wonder, and brevity of their childhood.  Please help us teach them that all blessings come from You, and that a stalwart, humble faith in You, coupled with reliance on the guidance You left in Your book of love letters to us, will provide them with everything they need to love as they should.  What You have joined, no many may put asunder, Lord, and we thank You for joining us together forever.  Please mold us into an example of Your will for married couples, and grant that our hearts may turn always to You, whether we face exhilarating joy or exhausting grief, with a psalm of praise.  Keep us ever mindful that marriage is so important to You that You performed Your first public miracle at a wedding, and keep us ever mindful of the sanctity of the sacrament You created.

Back where it all began

I would love to include pictures of Nonno and Deedaw renewing their vows in this post, but in all the hullaballoo, I forgot to put batteries in the camera. I do, however, have what might be called “before and after” pictures.


After 50 years of marriage, two sons, and six grandchildren:

There is pretty, and there is beautiful.  Wedding dresses are pretty.  Flowers are pretty.  Nonno and Deedaw are beautiful.

Yesterday morning, we hurried the tiny people into their best clothes and made ourselves halfway presentable, then ran out the door to make it to the church for 9:00 a.m. Mass.  Remarkably, we made it on time, in spite of a mischievous bag of toys that decided to flee the back of my van to have a playtime of their own in the parking lot.  If the dictionary people are ever looking for a definition of challenging, I would humbly submit the following:  “attempting to keep two preschoolers and a toddler from playing with several dozen small toys that have just spilled out of a bag in a church parking lot.”

Thankfully, years of practicing toy pickup skills helped keep the cleanup time to under two minutes, and we made it to the church on time.  The church in which Nonno and Deedaw renewed their promises to one another is the same one in which my husband and I were married a little over eight years ago; part of the roof is made of stained glass, and when the sun comes in through the glass, as it typically does in the late morning, the altar is covered with a thousand fragments of rainbows, dancing among the angels and saints and soothing the wounds of Christ crucified.

On this particular morning, I would venture to say they were dancing the tarantella as Nonno and Deedaw made their way to the altar and spoke anew the promises that anyone who knows them, knows have lived in their hearts for every day of the past half-century.  There is pretty, and there is beautiful.  The knowledge that they mean every word of those vows is beauty.

After Mass, my husband and I managed to make our way to a quiet corner of the altar, accompanied by our daughters (the boys were thoroughly enjoying all of the attention of their older relatives and did not wish to join our little party), and knelt there, with our arms around each other’s waists, just as we did on the first day of November of 2003.  We gave misty-eyed thanks to our gracious Lord and Savior, who joined us in a way that no man may sunder.  Like Nonno and Deedaw, we are a little older, a little greyer, a little more wrinkled, but we are building something beautiful together, with faith, honesty, and a love that uses Christ’s love for His church as its model.  I don’t know if we will both be alive for our fiftieth anniversary (we would both be 82, if we are), but for as long as we both shall live, I hope we can provide half so powerful a witness of what marriage should be.  I hope our children learn the lessons from us that my husband learned from his parents.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, thank You for Nonno and Deedaw, who have shown us that after the pretty flowers and dresses are put away, the real beauty of a marriage is the complete sacrifice of each spouse to the other.  Please help us teach Your blessings that love between a husband and wife is, like Your love for us, boundless and eternal.  There is a reason Your Son performed his first public miracle at a wedding; we would have Your blessings know that marriage is sacred.

Simple gifts

All of our children are named for people my husband and I have dearly loved, or still dearly love.  It is, in our eyes, one of our gifts to them, that they will carry the names of men and women who were all heroic in their own ways.  One of them was a bona fide war hero, and had the military decorations to prove it, but I did not know that until he died.  Each of them were heroes to us for their steadfast adherence to everyday virtues — faithfulness to the Lord and family, determination, thrift, ingenuity, creativity, kindness.  There will be no monuments except ordinary tombstones built for any of them, but they were (or remain) the kinds of people that we would hold up as examples to our children.

Baby Guy is named for my husband’s uncle, who left us not long before Beanie was born.  He was a brilliant and faithful man, born in Italy, and one of the people I will always regret not having been able to know better.  My husband’s aunt, this remarkable man’s widow, came down here to celebrate her little brother’s fiftieth wedding anniversary.  We absolutely adore her, and she loves us and our little tribe right back.  On the days when nothing seems to be right, I call Zizi, and she regales me with family tales, including a healthy dose of my father-in-law’s history.  There is nothing in this world that she does not know how to cook, and she always has a genuine compliment to offer about each of the kids, my husband, and me.  Her loving heart both honors and humbles me.

There are moments that are seared into my memory with a fierce and soaring joy.  One of them is the day we found out Baby Guy was, in fact, Baby Guy and not Baby Girl.  We had decided that, if this little blessing was a boy, that we would name him for this delightful lady’s late husband; upon my return from that happy visit with my favorite ultrasonographer, I called her to ask her permission.  Zizi readily gave her consent, then promptly hung up on me (no offense taken — it was the sort of hanging-up that comes from simply being unable to speak).  When she called back a couple of hours later, apologizing for hanging up, we had a good laugh.  Her two oldest children are Baby Guy’s godparents; it just seemed fitting.

Zizi and Baby Guy’s godparents, along with my husband’s other aunt who is Deedaw’s younger sister, all arrived this afternoon to help celebrate a truly awesome occasion.  While Zizi loves babies on general principle — they are cute, they snuggle, and every single blessed one of them loves to smile for her — Baby Guy has a special place.  I was rocking him in his car seat, trying to get him to take the nap he so desperately needed, when Zizi materialized next to me and asked if she could hold him.

I don’t think I will ever be able to say “no” to her.

All of us had been trying to soothe him for the better part of an hour, and Baby Guy was having none of it.  No amount of rocking, singing, milk, or snuggling would calm him.  Zizi, however, has almost a vocation for calming tired infants, and for the next half hour, Zizi and Baby Guy sat in the rocker, her singing and humming, him cuddling and smiling.  I hated to take him back from her when, finally, his fatigue won out over his adoration and he started to sob again.  He actually fell asleep on the floor, sprawled out on his tummy, with his little thumb jammed into his mouth like a cork.

As soon as he awoke and had a little something to eat, he was again the center of the classic party game, “Pass the Baby.”  Everyone had a turn at making Baby Guy laugh — he’s a most obliging little chap where that’s concerned — and he eventually made his way back to Zizi.  She smiled the whole time he was sitting with her, and in those moments, I could see her as a girl, almost sixty years ago, on her own wedding day.  Beautiful then, and beautiful now, and if the joy she finds in her life may be tempered by the pain of too many losses too close together, the love she has for us gives her a radiance that no cosmetic will ever duplicate.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, one of the rarest and least merited gifts You have given us is are the members of our family who love us in spite of our innumerable flaws, who somehow manage to see pieces of You in us.  Help us teach Your blessings to savor every moment they have with their aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents, before they learn by experience that they will not be with them here on earth forever.  And please, Lord, remind us to never miss an opportunity to share our love freely with our family, so that when they return to You, we have no reason to regret the words we did not say or the kindnesses we did not do.

What God has joined

A quick piece of housekeeping . . . I like comments, and I’m not easily offended.  Tell me what you think when you read these posts; I’d love to hear from you.  On with the blog, now.

There’s been quite the excited buzz around here in recent days, since today marks Nonno and Deedaw’s fiftieth wedding anniversary.  Nonno and Deedaw are my husband’s parents, and a more wonderful example of what marriage means would be difficult to find.  Celebrating this joyful milestone will occupy most of our waking hours this weekend, and much of this week has been devoted to preparing the kinds of festivities that are pleasing to Nonno and Deedaw.  These tend to center around family and faith; they will be renewing their vows and spending time with relatives who are traveling hither from yon.

Bugaboo finds all of this fascinating.  She gets that Mommy and Daddy are married to each other, Nonno and Deedaw are married to each other — you get the idea.  She also understands that some people who were married to each other aren’t anymore.  While she may not yet be able to conceive of how long a time fifty years is, she knows it’s longer than Mommy and Daddy have been alive, and since Mommy and Daddy are “old,” fifty years must be a tremendously long time.

She and Beanie are, naturally, excited about all the parties and about seeing people they love, but rarely see because they live such long distances from us.  They have been busily engaged in helping select deli trays and wrapping plastic cutlery in napkins secured with construction paper bands, hearts, and stickers, and have watched avidly while I do incomprehensible things with wired ribbon and tiny silk roses.  Unsurprisingly, they have also listened to many a conversation with Grandma (my mother), and thus have picked up on some new vocabulary, which has added some variety to the constant fusillade of questions posed by my extremely curious daughters.  Mr. Man listens intently, too, but his speaking skills are not yet developed to a point where he can add to the hubbub.

At any rate, Bugaboo and Beanie have also been curious about this notion of “renewing vows.”  I explained to them that a vow is a promise that you make in front of God that can never be broken, and that Nonno and Deedaw wanted to repeat those promises they made fifty years ago to each other.  It’s a special kind of celebration, I told them, the kind that makes us thank God for holding them close to Him and to each other for all these years, and a way to remember a day that was among the most important in their lives.  Those of us who weren’t there half a century ago will be able to join them in a celebration of a love that has lasted a lifetime.  The  young ladies were duly impressed, and both declared that one day, they will find someone with whom to share a lifetime.

Bugaboo has two stuffed penguins who have been her sleeping buddies since she was big enough to have sleeping buddies; there is a large one with a scarf who she named “Doctor Pengie,” as she thinks his scarf looks like her pediatrician’s tie, and a smaller one named “Dada Pengie,” so named, saith Bugaboo, because he has a round belly like Daddy.  They are her besties and boon companions, and no childhood joy or trauma has she endured without one of them tucked under each of her little arms.

Given all the talk about marriage over the past weeks, I knew that somehow it would end up being the subject of some play among the girls; they’re at an age when playing make-believe is the greatest game in the world, because they get to play-act all the grown-up things without having to pay the bills or worry about other logistical details.  However, I had to pull the van over on the way to playgroup this morning when Bugaboo declared, “Mommy, Doctor Pengie and I got married last night, and Dada Pengie is our little boy.  We need our own house now, right?” because I was laughing so hard I couldn’t steer.

I think I’ll save the explanation of why she can’t marry a penguin for another day — preferably for a day after she finally gets around to asking how the babies get into their mommies’ tummies.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, thank You for Nonno and Deedaw, who have set for us and for Your blessings a beautiful example of what You intended marriage to be.  For fifty years, they have been one, for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.  Having them here is a blessing that could only come from You.  Please, Lord, bless them with joy and peace in their remaining years, and help their children and grandchildren increase that joy by following their example of faith and trust in You and Your law.

And, Lord, thank You for showing me that keeping promises is not an anachronism.  You keep Yours always, but it seems that we have trouble with ours sometimes.  It’s good to have a reminder that yes, it is possible, and that it brings the greatest of joys.