The very first post I wrote on this trip was one in which I reflected on the ways I was missing my recently deceased mother . . . the things that I saw on the trip that made me think of her; and have continued to remind me of her at almost every turn. It seems only appropriate that my final post on this trip is of a similar nature.
Tonight, we are in Toulouse at an airport hotel getting ready to fly home in the morning. It is November 11th; Armistice Day here in France and many shops were closed. As we were driving out of Nimes this morning, we saw an older gentleman in a suit with military medals on it. He was carrying what must have been a rolled up banner. Perhaps, he was on his way to the beginning point of a parade. Being in France, you are reminded in every village of the wars the country has seen and the many young men who died in them.
But November 11th has an additional significance for me. My parents were married exactly seventy years ago today, on November 11, 1945. My dad was 22 and had recently returned from his service during WWII; my mom had just turned 23. I wish I could attach a copy of their wedding photograph; they were both so young, so beautiful and so very happy.
I can’t help but wonder what their hopes for the future might have been as they began their married lives. . . other than the obvious wedding night excitement (and excitement there must have been as my older brother was born exactly nine months and one day later). On the day my parents married, my grandparents were younger than I am now. I don’t know if mom and dad had discussed the issue of having children or if it was just taken for granted that they would. Probably the latter if I know anything about them.
I know that both of them thought their lives had been well spent and well spent together. They provided wonderful examples of what married life should be and, even if it took some of their children two tries to get it right, we all benefited from their example and their love for each other and each of us.
Thanks for everything mom and dad. And happy anniversary.