Few of us probably fully appreciate our parents until they are no longer there. Let’s face it, we never really treat them with anything other than passing sufferance most of the time and how often do we ever REALLY talk to them?
This weekend I attended my parents’ Diamond Wedding Anniversary. Sixty years of marriage! That is an incredible achievement in anyone’s book. There are countries out there that haven’t endured that long. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t all been roses and champagne over the past six decades. I can remember fights and arguments when I was a kid and they bicker constantly, like…well…an old married couple actually. But they are still together and they deserve a little more than my passing sufferance these days.
I spend my life travelling and talking to people about their lives, but I am ashamed to say I have never given my parents the same consideration. That was until last weekend. Between them, my folks have a combined life span of some 170 years and a wealth of memories that would fill a library. They survived the Blitz together. My dad served in Palestine during the first ever Arab-Israeli conflict in 1947. And my mum, apparently, used to watch aerial dogfights in the skies above Birmingham on her way from school. Why had it taken me so long to sit down and listen to this?!
Over the course of the weekend we spent hours talking. I hadn’t seen them this animated in years. I took my mum to visit an old school friend of hers and sat and listened (yes, listened) whilst they spent the afternoon reminiscing about lost loves, dance halls and a late night motorbike ride back home during the blackout?! My mother…on the back of a motorbike…with a man who wasn’t my father?! This was a revelation!
Pablo Picasso once said, ‘It takes a long time to become young’. It would seem that my parents have been getting younger all these years without me even realising it.
…I’m glad I’ve remedied that now.