My dad built this gazebo especially for my wedding ceremony. I wish you could see my bouquet which was created around a 5 inch orchid one of my neighbors grew and asked me to carry as my wedding bouquet.It's my wedding anniversary. I can hardly believe that it's been 30 years and through the years I think I've learned a lot. My husband and I are a great example of what happens when opposites attract.
Husband is from Beirut and grew up when the city was the "Paris of the Middle East." In his high-rise, he grew up with a full-time live in maid. I grew up with yard to be mowed and lots of chores to be done because my mom and dad both held down full-time jobs. That was back in the day when mothers did not work and in fact none of the women in my husband's family worked.
My husband is a Muslim and I'm a Christian. I probably don't have to tell you that neither of our families were happy about our decision to marry (this is an understatement). Our wedding was postponed for several months in the planning process while the families tried to cope (pleaded with us not to marry) with the idea of our union.
My husband grew up vacationing in Europe during the summer while I was on farms in middle Georgia picking blackberries, peaches, peas, butter beans and corn, followed by weeks of shelling, shucking and canning. He enjoyed sunbathing on the Mediterranean every day in the summer while I was working outside dodging copperheads, possums and gnats. In my husband's family, everyone attended exclusive private school with a day that generally included a formal luncheon. He also enjoyed a spending his summer break at their summer home with all the family enjoying lots of leisure time. We didn't have much leisure time at our house (okay, that's an understatement too. I hope my sister reads this post). I took my first babysitting job at the age of 11 and my first full-time job at 16. I've been working since then.
When I met dear husband and he said he was from Lebanon, I confess that I had to go to the map to find the little country. We were from such different worlds but over the years the differences have made us strong and we continue to learn so much from each other.
Here are some of the things my husband has taught me.
Be comfortable with who you are and enjoy the day. Through the years we made trips to Lebanon during the civil war. I've dodged shoot outs, survived a car bomb and passed through more checkpoints than I want to think about but through it all I observed an attitude of Que Sera, Sera. In fact it seemed that during our visits at night in the clubs and restaurants of Beirut, at least one time a night the establishment would actually play Doris Day and clientele would join in and sing, Que Sera, Sera. I REALLY like to worry but I try to sing this song when I'm most stressed. It helps.
Cherish your life and those around you. For 30 years my husband has brought me coffee in bed. He has focused on the small gifts that we share with one another. He lets his children know that they mean more to him than just about anything. His love extends to the rest of his family including his cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. In his family the extended family members are just as important as your immediate family - it's all the same ---family. Husband does a great job in making sure they all know that they are more important than all the external interference that consumes our busy lives.
Be happy and focus on it. My children are so different and I admit that when I grew up there were prescribed paths (expectations) and I grew up understanding these were necessary paths to take. I was not allowed to explore too much off the path. My husband was raised with a focus on finding your happiness. For me, when it came to raising children my concerns were often focused on "the path" with lots of panic and guilt when they took a misstep. I would always blame myself. My husband was more focused on helping the kids find their happy factor. When my first child was born my husband gave me a copy of Khalil Gibran's, The Prophet. Through the years I've gone back to read the chapter on raising children and it's helped me simmer down. Husband reminds me often to stop and take more time to sit with him on the porch.
Protocol and respect. I've loved every moment of exposure to formalities that were never a part of my life. So many of these formalities have helped me learn to respect myself and those around me. Two religions can live and work together with great respect. When it comes to religion I have enjoyed learning that my husband is also one of the children of Abraham. I remind myself that in so many ways we both go to the same church, we just sit on different pews. Our trips to the middle east have taught me the importance of finding the similarities that our faiths share (and there are many) rather than searching for the differences.
In some ways I think dear husband and I could "teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony."
Happy Anni, Hossy. I hope you read my blog today.