Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Their European Vacation

I’ve been hearing the same type of comments over and over again. “I’m sorry you don’t get to go.” “How come you don’t get to go?” Stephanie said she’d been asked too, “Isn’t your Mom upset that she doesn’t get to go?” We just laughed.

As I write this, Stephanie and her Daddy are traveling through Europe and Spain to celebrate her college graduation and I couldn’t be happier. This is what love is all about, sharing in the joys of others and being able to truly revel in someone else’s happy times. Jealousy, resentment and scorekeeping have no place in our marriage or our family. We don’t allow those ugly fellows in, therefore peace and love can thrive.

There have been plenty of times when I have been the one to fly off somewhere on my own or with the children and Ken has had to stay home and work. He didn’t wave us off sulking; instead we were met with enthusiasm and demands that we have a wonderful and relaxing vacation.

Many years ago when money was tight, Ken was secretly stashing away my Diet Coke cans and taking them to a recycle center for cash. On the day I left for a Girls Weekend Getaway, he handed me a surprise $75.00 he’d managed to save from all my soda cans. That $75.00 was pure gold, money I wanted to frame rather than spend. It was a symbol of the love we share, how respected my feelings were and how he wanted my time away to be special for me.

When Ken and I got married, my darling friend Kay Morrison read from 1 Corinthians 13 at our wedding. We have tried to make this the motto for how we live our lives, conduct our marriage and raise our children. Here are a few of my favorite verses:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

To be able to live by the principles of faith, you have to be able to wave off your spouse and family on a dream vacation without envy in your heart. You have to be truly happy from the bottom of your heart, without having a record of whose turn it is to get time off. Why does it matter anyway?

My focus, being on my family, is to love, serve, and protect, and to do that each day with love in my heart. Watching Ken and Stephanie planning, and then eventually leaving on their European vacation filled me with enough joy to last a lifetime. Ok, all of my favorite Sound of Music songs were getting turned into Oktoberfest & beer themed songs, but hey….we were all having fun and getting into the spirit of things.

My wise and adored Grandmother Mildred often told me the secret to a happy marriage was for each person to always be giving more to the other person than to themselves. In that way, each persons needs were always being met. Grandma always had good advice.

It’s not just about giving gifts and tangible things. Gifts can also be your attitude. When I left on my Girls Weekend Getaway all those years ago with the $75.00 Ken had worked so hard to save up for me, I knew I left with his blessing.

Ken and Stephanie also left with the best gift I could come up with. It was my enthusiasm for this time together as Father and Daughter, because I know how irreplaceable their European Vacation is for them. I hope they are having the time of their lives.