A small but intimate group gathered at my place to enjoy a beautifully prepared dinner, fine wine and special music.
The night saw four generations gathered which included my parents Norman & Annette, their 3 children, 3 of their 8 grand kids and 2 of their 4 great grand kids as well as a sprinkling of their siblings, in-laws and out-laws.
My eldest sister Wendy cooked up a storm all day resulting in a scrumptious 4 course meal of entrees, soup, mains & desert which was helped down with a ready flow of Red wine.
Below is a insight into my parents and who they are to my sister Wendy and I.
I guess the story begins with where they came from as individuals, both were born and raised in the tough end of WW2 period.
My mother being of German ancestry found herself at a young age having to move interstate for family support as her father went of to war in Papua New Guinea in defence of Australia, compounded to this was the need for them to change their family name to remove their German ancestry. With 7 other siblings, times were often tough and hard for my mother growing up in her strict hard working class family. My mother always dreamed of going to high school and of becoming a teacher, neither of which were available to her due to the economics of the day. My mother Annette excelled in sport and represented her state in Netball as well as becoming a qualified netball referee.
My father was also born towards the end of the second world war, his mother fell in love with a local man whom she was forbid to marry even after conceiving my father. My father found himself in a orphanage for the first few years of his life before my Nana found love once again with a returned serviceman and married. My father was now back with his mother but in tough times under tough conditions. My fathers family were farmers and from a very young age my father learnt the lesson of work. My father finally left the farm and joined the Navy which saw him serve in active duty ( although, my father being such a humble man didn’t even acknowledge his active duty until only recent years ).
It was during these Navy days that Norman was introduced to Annette via a double date arranged by one of Norman’s Navy mates.
As they say, it was love at first sight ( according to Dad, my Mum’s legs went on forever ) and Norman then travelled aprox 700km each way on weekends to travel from his Naval Base in NSW to Brisbane to court my mother Annette.
He would travel up from NSW with all his Navy mates and while they went out on the town in Brisbane, my father would sit in the lounge room at Annette’s being grilled by her 7 siblings and a strict German heritage father.
Well, they finally got married in 1960 with a military Naval Guard Of Honour and members of the State Netball Team which Mum was a part of.
I could go on and on about their lives and what they did and where they have been but I’d like to take the opportunity to add a bit about who they are to ME.
First and foremost I’d like to say that to me, my parents are Honest, Loving, Genuine, Caring, Shining examples of Compassionate Humans.
All 3 of us kids have at one stage or another given our parents hell as we grew up, but they never gave up on us, they always believed in us even when we didn’t. They worked hard without complaint when others just found excuses and they never gave up.
They kept a loving home free of fear or abuse, they kept us 3 kids with everything we needed and well fed even when it meant that they went without more times than not.
They have always guided but never controlled, they have always advised but never told, They have never been shy in showing love and emotions not only to us kids but more importantly to each other. They have supported without imposing. They have not told us the way, they lead in silent example.
Below are three poems, one by my sister Wendy about last night and two of mine that I have actually posted before but thought I would add again.
On Friday night I watched my Dad
hold my Mothers hand
On Friday night I watched my Mum
look into my Fathers eyes
I saw a love that has shared many years
and I witnessed what 50 years looked like
On Friday night I watched my Dad
sit with his arm around Mum
He rubbed her back and
she sat real close
and they both smiled the biggest smiles
On Friday night I saw a family
surround this pair with love
The example they have led by
the family they have built
is testimony of their true selves
I am so proud to be a part of this
Just so proud to be one of theirs
I feel so truly blessed
to have parents like mine
who have walked the talk
and just kept going forward
they truly are my inspiration
and they are also my good friends.
Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary Mum and Dad.
The Below Clip Is Lovingly Dedicated To My Parents
Norman & Annette Swansson
Lots of love Wendy
How to be a good farther
To be a good farther you must be patient and kind,
You must always put yourself last,
Behind the kids and the wife.
You must work hard without complaint,
To provide all the necessities of life.
And you must smile while you do it,
Even when you are tired.
You must sacrifice your youth,
For the youth of your child.
And your honesty, Integrity and the strength must always shine bright.
For a farther is the beacon that his children use for life,
It's what they use to find their way back when the wander out of sight.
A farther must be an example of all that is good and right.
A farther must protect you form things that go bump • the night.
A farther must be a teacher of all of life's skills.
A farther must have all the answers, even when there not right.
A farther must teach when to walk and when to fight.
And when your child grows big and when they grow strong,
A farther must find the strength to help them move on.
I know all of this only because of you,
And my life's guiding light.
Andrew Swansson 06/09/03
The feeling of guilt,
The feeling of pain,
Are the feelings you feel
When life can never be the same.
Oh, for the love of life to return
And once again be the same.
Where are the days of home sweet home
Of mothers arms and never being alone.
These are the days
I long for most
Never appreciated or even noticed
Until they are – but a ghost.