My parents had been married almost 46 years when my father died.
I remember the celebrations of several of their anniversaries, some I had a hand in, some I did not, but for those important milestones in their relationship, they never went unnoticed.
To celebrate their Silver Anniversary, my sister and her husband-to-be took them to a show in Bournemouth, where they danced in the aisle as The Star serenaded them, much to the amusement of him and the entire audience, as they stole the limelight!
For their Pearl Anniversary, my now-Ex and I booked a table at one of the posh restaurants in Poole, and were joined by my siblings once Mum and Dad were seated.
Mum was allowed to keep the posy of flowers on the table, and was dabbing her eyes a lot (and not from hay fever) !
I was living on the outskirts of Bath when they celebrated their Coral Anniversary.
For weeks I had been baking and freezing things down, and made a traditional single tier wedding cake which my boss iced for me as she was attending a sugar craft course and ‘needed some practice’.
My father always gave my mother two dozen red carnations on their anniversary, and so she decorated their cake accordingly. She did something similar to this, subtle and not overpowering, and on a white background with red piping, the cake looked beautiful.
I had invited my parents up for Sunday dinner, unbeknown to them that they would not be the only guests, greeting them at the door with flowers (for Mum) and a cigar (for Dad).
My Mum showed dismay when she saw the buffet laid out as she was looking forward to one of my roasts, but that all changed when people started to come out of my kitchen.
Not just my siblings and their families, but uncles and aunts as well, and it was the first time I had known my Dad lost for words.
We had a wonderful celebration, with a total of 37 people in our house, some of which stayed overnight, and I was able to give everyone a bed, plus a full English breakfast the following morning.
Five years later, although we didn’t put on or arrange a ‘do’, Hubby and I gave Mum and Dad a bottle of Ruby Port and some Stilton Cheese. Mum wasn’t a fan of strong cheese, but she had some pretty rosy cheeks from a glass or two of the port!
For their Sapphire Anniversary, we booked a table at a Cantonese restaurant.
My dad was never one for ‘foreign’ food, but having had an Italian chef stay with them who was happy to cook for them a couple of times a week, Dad had tested his taste buds on something more than the standard english diet, so I thought this would be fun.
The staff were terrific, ensuring that knives and forks were available as well as chopsticks, and we were joined by Sis and her husband plus Bro and my sister-in-law (who hadn’t emigrated yet). Other Brother couldn’t make it as ‘She’ had ‘another committment’.
Mum and Dad both tucked in to the variety of dishes on the table, though like me they couldn’t master using chopsticks. Hubby still laughs at me if I try.
It was actually the last time we celebrated together as a family.
I know my Mum still misses my Dad terribly, but I wonder if she remembers these happy occasions sometimes, and if, like me, she smiles at the memory and can still hear the laughter we all shared at those times.