A brief history of marriage

I often use this photograph in story-telling workshops. Dad had it as a worn 6″x4″ in his drawer for years. It was taken outside 125 Queen Street which was then, and until very recently a BNZ¬†building, during a “meet the parents” visit by Dad to Auckland.

Mum and Dad 1952.jpgI asked a colleague with a photography degree if she would restore it, which she did, magnificently. It has held pride of place in Mum and Dad’s hallway since their 55th wedding anniversary ten years ago.

When I first went to use it as a backdrop for a story-telling exercise, the workshop was cancelling on account of the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake and now that event is part of Mum and Dad’s long story together in Christchurch.

Dad’s mother¬†was reluctant to agree to the marriage – he had to wait until he was twenty and didn’t require her consent!

Mum and Dad married in 1952 in the Christchurch Registry Office in Manchester Street, Christchurch. Dad’s brother Colin was best man and a friend of Mum, Shirley Easterbrook, was her bridesmaid.

When you’ve been married 65 years there’s a lot to talk about. In Mum and Dad’s case family, faith, study, careers, holidays, gardening, crosswords, cars and caravans come to mind in an instant. Before that there was motorcycles and tennis. Tennis is still a passion of Mums. And Dad has their garden as beautiful as it has ever been.

It’s difficult to comprehend 65 years together – few do it – the Queen and Prince Philip have done so, and another five years on top. In fact it was in 1952 that then Princess Elizabeth, became Queen.

I’m blessed to have parents, to have parents who have stayed the course, and to have parents who have always been accessible and supportive whilst letting me (and my siblings) get on with our lives.

That’s being a parent.

It’s leadership too and a perfect topic to end 2017 on I reckon.

Happy new year!

 

Stephen

 

 

Say it now

We went to a friend’s mum’s funeral this week. We shared some of the pain of the illness over the last year and learned how close mother and daughter were. At the funeral our friend spoke of the special relationship between her and her mother: how there was never a harsh word, they were best friends and Mum was always there for her, whenever.

I know people who, after their parents have died, talk of the things that they wanted to say.

Funerals make me reflective. No good waiting for the important conversations I was thinking. In fact I don’t mind saying I haven’t waited, but I count myself fortunate to have the tools and parents who engage. Doesn’t mean we agree on everything but we understand and respect. And feel we can talk about whatever we need to talk about.

And our friend clearly had the relationship with her mother that allowed that to occur.

No use waiting until you’re at the funeral home, either in the box or in the pews. Say it now. It’s never too late and you’ll probably have lots of good things to say.

Stephen