Today is my parents’ 32nd Anniversary! ❤️ In honor of them, I thought I’d share 3 things about their relationship for today’s Three Things Thursday post. (Disclaimer: Mom used to tell us these stories periodically when we were growing up, but I haven’t heard them in a long time so the details are a little fuzzy. I might have some of it wrong. If so.. Sorry, Dad! 😛 )
1. Mom and Dad met through Mom’s roommate. Dad was in seminary and needed a proofreader/typist who could decipher his terrible handwriting and type up his notes & papers for him. Mom’s roommate recommended her for the job. Mom said she already thought he was handsome, but she developed a real crush on Dad from reading his papers. Isn’t that the cutest?
My dad was the Music Minister at their church (I think?) and apparently he was quite the eligible bachelor. All the young ladies in the church wanted to be wifed up by him.. there was even a jokey song the girls sang to the tune of Oscar Mayer Weiner: “Oh, I wish I were a Mrs. Stanley Feener / That is what I’d really like to be / ‘Cuz if I were a Mrs. Stanley Feener / Everyone would be jealous of me.” I always got a kick out of that! I still feel a strange fondness for the Oscar Mayer company even thought I don’t use any of their products, haha.
Speaking of names: my mom’s first name is Phyllis, and Dad always liked to tell the story as if she were desperate to become PPHHyllis FFFeener because it sounded so good together 😉 mom always rolled her eyes jokingly when people pointed it out, but she really loves and has always loved the alliteration!
2. My parents had both been in serious relationships before becoming Christians and meeting each other, and had both experienced a great deal of heartache due to mistakes they’d made in those relationships. Because of that, my Dad was especially cautious and he started their relationship with some ground rules: “I’m not going to kiss you. The next woman I kiss will be my wife.” Whenever my mom would tell us this story, she’d say something like, “I was okay with it because I knew in that moment: I will kiss Stan Feener one day.” (In fact, he kissed her the weekend he took her to meet his family, and then had second thoughts the next day – she said it was really awkward driving all the way home from Florida to Texas after Dad told her, “I shouldn’t have kissed you.” But he hadn’t even broken his rule because she soon became his wife!)
3. I remember realizing at some point that my parents were a lot more lovey-dovey than other parents. They were always freely affectionate around the house and in public, and they kissed each other in front of us kids every day. I didn’t even know that I was “supposed” to be grossed out – I thought that was just what parents did. They made a point to be on the same team – a united front – and any bickering they did in front of us usually ended in good-natured teasing. I think it’s cool that I grew up in a family where my parents’ love for each other was never in doubt. They modeled a strong relationship for us kids and I’m grateful that I had that example growing up!
In the last few years, it has been really tough, but also inspiring to watch my dad take care of my mom as her dementia progresses. I can’t imagine the heartbreak of slowly watching your spouse deteriorate, but he loves her very well through it. What an example of unconditional love and servanthood in action! Dad has a lot on his plate, but he takes great care of Mom. She is happy and she’s just as in love with him as ever.
Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad! Thanks for falling in love and staying in love and being a wonderful example to me of true, unconditional love.