Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesdays with Wanda (A Love Story)

This Friday, February 19th, would have been Mom and Dad’s 45th wedding anniversary.


45 Years. Wow!


It’s a rare thing nowadays to see a marriage last that long. But what a beautiful sight to see when you do!


My dad met my mom on a blind date in October of 1964.


He loves talking about that night. He has always said, “It was love at first sight.” He recalls her opening the door, and how he thought she was a knock out! There is always a big smile on his face when he thinks about that night.


He told me this week, that on their first date they went to see the movie “Ten Commandments”. After the movie, they went and got a bite to eat at the Parkette Drive-in. It’s the kind of place where you sit in your car to order the food, and the waitress rolls up to your car window on her roller skates.


She told him that night that she didn’t like bald-headed men. That made me laugh out loud! At the time, Dad had a head full of hair, but not for very long…


Dad says she learned to love bald-headed men. :)





(mom’s engagement picture)



They fell in love fast and hard and were married 4 months later, February 19, 1965.


Together they raised 3 children, my sister, me, and my brother. They worked hard to provide us with the things we needed. Growing up, we were involved in a ton of activities…dance, baseball, basketball, cheerleading, piano, golf, swim team, color guard, band, gymnastics, track, girl scouts, boys scouts, youth group, Sunday School, and on and on…. I don’t know how they did it!


But as dad told me tonight, “Our kids were our life.”


I know it wasn’t always easy, but they stuck together through it all.


I asked my dad how they made it through the bad times in their marriage, and he said, “There weren’t really “bad” times in our marriage, just stressful times.” He explained how the circumstances in their lives would sometimes cause stress in their marriage. But they never gave up and never gave in. They were committed to each other through the good and the bad.


After all of us kids were finally out of the house, there was more time for Mom and Dad to spend together. They enjoyed going to “dinner theaters” together and church activities. Of course their favorite thing to do together was to invite all of their children and grandchildren over!


I asked Dad what he loved most about Mom and this is what he said, (in broken sentences and with a lump in his throat)…


“her faithfulness to God…she lived it 24/7… her forgiving heart …the way she loved people…. the way she loved me. I can’t say nothin’ bad about that woman.”


And I left it at that. I knew he would start to cry if I asked for more.


Dad loved Mom with all of his heart. And she adored him too.


When Mom found out she had cancer, their love was more evident than ever.


One day, I was at the house with Mom and Dad getting ready for lunch. She had just been recently diagnosed, and Mom’s legs were not as swollen as they were in the end. She was able to get around much easier. She was in the kitchen fixing her and Dad something for lunch. I was sitting at the kitchen table looking at magazines.


Dad walked into the kitchen with a CD player. He plugged it in and began to play their favorite CD. It was a CD by a gospel group called, Ernie Haus and Signature Sound. They had performed at Mom and Dad’s church, and they just loved them. Mom actually wrote a post about it on her blog. You can read about it HERE.


Dad played one song, and then forwarded it to their “favorite song” on the album. Then Dad took Mom by the hand and they begin to slowly dance. Mom’s arms were around his neck and his arms around her waist. Their feet never moved as they swayed back and forth.


It was as if time stood still. I have never felt a love so strong. It was as if they were trying to drink each other up. Dad began to cry. I know he didn’t want to ever let go. They both knew that her diagnosis was serious and that their time together may be coming to an end.


In my 39 years of being their daughter, I have never seen anything so beautiful.

Their love was special. Their love was true.


I watched Dad as he cared for Mom day in and day out. He brought her food, fluffed her pillows, held her hand, brushed her hair, and prayed for her every day. He adored her.


And Dad was right beside her, still loving on her, those final hours she had here on earth. Mom was on a lot of pain medicine and was not completely coherent, but when Dad would lean down beside her bed and talk to her, you could see her trying to open her eyes and move her mouth. She was hearing the voice of the man she had loved for 44 years.


I remember Dad saying to her before she passed away, “You’re my girl, Wanda. I’ve always loved you. I fell in love with you the first time I saw you.”


Their love was beautiful.


I know this post will be hard for my dad to read. It was hard for me to write.


But I wanted to write it for him. To honor their marriage and their love.


Dad also told me this week that their favorite singer when they first got married was Jim Reeves. I found one of his songs that I think is perfect for them and made a video.

video

Dad,
God blessed you with an amazing woman and an amazing marriage. He gave you 44 wonderful years together here on this earth. And what a comfort to know that you will spend an infinite number of years with her someday in heaven. I love you. Traci


56 comments:

  1. What a blessing! Thanks for sharing. My heart is filled today. Thank you for allowing God to use you to touch others for His glory.

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  2. oh wow Traci, this will bring tears to many who read it, beginning with me! What a beautiful tribute to your mom and dad and their marriage. How rare and wonderful that is in this day and age.

    I just posted about my own parents love story, you might want to take a look, so many similar things, hearts that loved God and each other.

    Blessings!
    Sonja
    http://bitsandpieces-sonja.blogspot.com/

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  3. I'm totally crying! Please thank your dad for being so gracious to allow his story shared with all of us.

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  4. How beautiful, I have tears in my eyes.

    Cha Cha

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  5. Ah Traci...I am in absolute tears reading this post. You had me at the 44 years and then you wrote about the dancing in the kitchen.

    Isn't it so very special to know that your parents loved each so much? What a wonderful man your daddy is. Sending big cyber ((((hugs)))) to him as I know this Friday will be a difficult day for him. It's such a blessing and comfort to know that he'll see her again in heaven.
    P.S. beautiful pic of your mom. : )

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  6. What a beautiful, beautiful tribute. Tears...but a warm feeling in my heart. also.
    Thank you!

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  7. Beautiful...absolutely precious. I would have loved your mom too had I known her sooner. The video was precious too. You are blessed to have such a rich godly loving heritage. Tell your dad happy anniversary from a blogger land friend.

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  8. That was incredible....on so many levels. I've got to get myself together before my students arrive. Thank you for sharing this today!

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  9. Your posts on Wednesdays are some of my favorites. But I think this is the best of all. What a wonderful relationship your parents have. A great example to all of us. Thank you for sharing them with us.

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  10. Traci~
    What a BEAUTIFUL tribute to your amazing parents!! WOW....not much can be said, other than they've set an amazing example of what true love is about!!!

    I love me some Ernie Haus too!!!

    Praying that as you reflect and remember all the precious memories with your Mom that you are gently comforted in knowing...that SOON, you will see her again!!!

    Love ya friend.

    Kim~

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  11. Wednesdays with Wanda always get to me...but this one took me 3 tissues!!! Everytime I read your stories I feel so connected to your family...Friday Feb 19, is my birthday!!!! Maybe that is the connection!!!

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  12. I'm sitting here at my day job with tears and tissues! That is love and a true love story! My parents also met on a blind date and will be married 48 years this year. Thank you for sharing your parents story.

    As an aside, I'll be celebrating my 25th this year and this morning my hubby says to me, "you are a sexy and beautiful woman". I don't know how I got so lucky!

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  13. Traci, do you realize how you bless others by sharing your life with us?! Once again, I found myself sitting in my office crying after reading another one of your very touching blogs! What a precious life-story about your mom & dad's love...may you and your loved ones be blessed over and over again!

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  14. This is so sweet. It reminds me so much of my husband's mother and dad. She passed away 4 years ago with cancer, and they had a love story similar to your mom and dad's. It is so wonderful when a couple are "married for life" like that!

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  15. What a beautiful post....and your mom was so pretty, but actually grew more beautiful as she aged. I can see you in her, so she'll always live on with your sweet spirit, and love.

    Have a wonderful day with your memories.

    Linda @ Kindlelight Blessings, your KY friend.

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  16. this was beautiful. absolutely beautiful. it brought tears to my eyes. thank you for sharing. and thank you for sharing your mom and dad. this was such a great post.

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  17. makes me want to love the people in my life better. I have been truly blessed by your mom's story and your writing! Thank you, Traci.

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  18. Thanks for sharing this beautiful story. Sheesh...you have me crying again!
    My dad was bald when he met my mom. My mom says she didn't even notice he was bald the first time they went out. She said the first thing she noticed was his legs. :)
    They also have had many wonderful years of marriage, and they are a great example of what love is.

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  19. Traci, This story of your parents is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing and blessing me. I can only imagine how hard this must be, but what an amazing heritage you have. Know that you and your family are often in my thoughts and prayers daily! I'm so glad to get to know you! God bless in every way...

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  20. A precious post, Traci. So many people today can't imagine staying with one spouse for ten or twenty years, as if that would just be too long to be "stuck" with one person. It is glorious to read about real love--a love that understands that 44 years is much too short a time to be with one person.

    Every blessing to you all as you carry one another through this week.

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  21. What a beautiful post....I read it twice.....My Mom and Dad were married 59 years and my grandparents were married 72 years...That blows my mind.....We are on year 38. Your Dad will be so proud of you today.....

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  22. Their love for each other and the Lord is such a great blessing...thanks for sharing!

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  23. Oh, this made me cry so much. You see, my parents wedding anniversary is also Feb. 19, but they were married in 1972.

    My dad passed away, too. It's going on 14 yrs now. He was 43 yrs old. I'm the oldest of nine children. anyway, it (your post)just brought back so many memories to hear you share of your parents love for each other...how they did it with all you kids...I think and wonder the same of mine. Their first date was even similar, along with the same love of music (southern gospel and Jim Reeves).

    Thank for the memories (though tearful)- I say to remember helps to bring healing...

    God bless your day... and your dad!!

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  24. Loved it, Traci. What a sweet way to remember your mom this week. I'm sure you're Dad will love the honoring post.

    Watching the video was a reminder how how precious our time with loved ones is. It was fun seeing them grow older together. Very sweet.

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  25. Oh my goodness I am crying reading this touching post Traci. Your parents love is truly amazing.
    What a beautiful video and photos.

    Thank you for sharing this with everyone. ~Melissa

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  26. Oh that brought tears to my eyes. How wonderful to witness such an amazing love!

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  27. That was absolutely the sweetest thing I have ever read...chills. What an amazing mother and father you were blesssed with...

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  28. Thank you so much for sharing your parents' love story to us, Traci. What a blessing they are, what an example. You and your siblings have been blessed by the Lord to grow up in the household you did. God bless you all.

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  29. I agree - chills. And tears. Sweetest couple. I enjoyed your video so much Traci. Thanks for sharing your parents with us.
    xoxo,
    Kim

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  30. Ok, another teary wednesday, I always cry on your wednesday blogs. That was so touching, your mom and dad were truely blessed to have so many years of love. God bless you and your family, you are still in my prayers.


    Norma

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  31. Oh my goodness, Traci, We were married in 1965, as well, and the Ten Commandments was the movie we saw on our first date! Very sweet post. Linda

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  32. Hi Traci,

    I had to come out of my lurker status and say that this was an incredibly moving post. I can only imagine the loss your father has felt, but of to have had a love like that.

    Bless you,
    Cate

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  33. Wow. Thanks so much for sharing. Your family is such an amazing testimony!

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  34. What a beautiful post, Traci. It truly moved my heart this evening. My own parents will be celebrating 36 years this fall and my grandparents were married 56.5 years before my grandfather died. But when I look at my parents marriage and my grandparents marriage, I only hope and pray that my husband & I will be in their shoes 36, 56 years into our marriage. It truly is a blessing to see the gift of love and faithfulness in marriage as evidenced in your parents marriage. I will keep your father and your family in my prayers.

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  35. Traci,
    Your heart shines through everything you write! God bless you... In tears... Dee Dee

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  36. So beautiful, it truly brought tears to my eyes. Hopefully everyone experiences a love like that some point in their lives.

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  37. What a story, so wonderfully, painfully told. Thank you for sharing this with us.

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  38. Beautifully written.
    It is evident that you experienced a sweet and blessed childhood in a Christian Home.
    You have raised up and call your Mother Blessed.
    Very sweet and wonderful to have this,
    d

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  39. What a great love story. And such a great thing to know that you came from a love like that. It is pretty special!

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  40. Oh my gosh, Traci, that is the sweetest thing I have ever read, and my family is staring at me right now wondering why I'm crying during American Idol! :) I'm so glad that you appreciate your parents' marriage, and their love story, because those of us who don't have that are just a little jealous. :) Love ya.

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  41. This was so very beautiful!!!

    My dad just sent all me and my siblings a long letter tonight saying how bad things are for my mother right now. She's got a plethora of health issues. After answering his email, I came right to your blog and read this!!! I feel like I just read a post that I had written about my parents! I am SO very blessed to be their daughter!! They've been married 42 1/2 years so far and both love the Lord more and more each day. I'm not sure how much longer the Lord will allow either one of them to live, but I am SO glad for each day that I get to talk with them!!!

    Thank you for all of your Wednesdays with Wanda (though, may I call her Mrs. Wanda? I am a Soutern girl, you see.). I LOVE learning about your wonderful mother and your wonderful family!!

    His,
    Shari

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  42. *sigh* you did it again Traci! I'm here in tears at my desk, reading yet another touching tribute you've written!! What a great story!!! ((HUGS)) to you.. I had my hubby come read this as well.. we always dance around the house together, and this brings on new meaning..

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  43. Beautiful. It is a blessing to know there are people so in love after so many years together. Thank you!

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  44. I loved your video. My parent's just celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary, I am so very lucky to have them both still here. My Dad will be celebrating his eightieth birtday in March. I love Jim Reeves, a class act.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Love, Debbie

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  45. hi, i was directed here from another blog (soladay family) but wanted to let you know that i love this post! just brought tears to my eyes. a true love like that is worthy of a good tribute. so wonderful to know that God gave them so many awesome years together! God bless!

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  46. What a beautiful tribute to their love, and a reminder to us all to cherish the time we have with our Valentines, as we will all one day say good bye! Thank you so much for sharing, and for honoring your parents the way you do!

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  47. Hi, this was a beautiful and touching story about love. The power of love is the greatest thing to be bestowed upon a person. Near the end of of your story I was in tears. Wow, just beautiful.

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  48. beautiful post!

    my parents would have celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary on the 19th, as well. as you mentioned, it is such a blessing to have parents who loved one another and gave us such a wonderful examples of a happy marriage.

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  49. This was such a beautiful and touching post Traci. I started crying when I watched the video. It really touched my heart. I know this had to be hard for you to write and share. You are so special. I'm sure that your dad sees that everyday. I know that he is so thankful for you.

    Hugs,
    Lee Laurie

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  50. This post made me cry. What a beautiful love, and love story. Thank you for sharing that with all of us. I'm sure we all strive for that kind of wonderful love and marriage, but it's good to be reminded that we should treasure every moment together :)

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  51. All I do is smile and cry when I read your Wednesdays with Wanda stories. This one though is by far the most touching. Beautiful, sweet story
    deezie

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  52. God Bless you! what a BEATIFUL story!!! TFS

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  53. It's a beautiful and touching marriage story. It made me cry. Your mom and dad are so lucky to meet each other, to love each other, and to get married. I hope that I can have this kind of true love in my life.
    Thank you for sharing this nice story to us all.

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