(Roddy and Isca Abaya are my long time friends who also believe in the importance of marking important life milestones. They got married in January 1995, the time when Pope John Paul II visited Manila for the World Youth day. Coincidentally, they celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary in a renewal of vows last month, the next papal visit to our country, this time by Pope Francis. Let’s hear it from the “groom’s” perspective.)
Having and Holding for 20 Years
by Roddy Abaya
When we planned our wedding 21 years ago, we were also building our house. Both of these were important lifetime events. Every decision we made was based on whatever information we had, poring over bridal magazines, home decoration books and other actual weddings and homes we had attended and visited. We had a lovely wedding and started married life in a brand new, but semi-empty house.
Fast forward 21 years later, with 3 kids, 3 dogs, an expanded house, and a growing number of extended family members and friends for life, we just celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary, re-living the moment in Paco Park, the original venue of our wedding.
We’ve obviously attended our fair share of weddings since getting married ourselves and the wedding industry itself has evolved so much the past many years. There seem to be so many more options today for making the wedding as fancy and memorable as your money can buy. From the requisite designer gowns and Italian suits to cinematic coverage to professional hosts to onsite photo booths…they all seem to be standard fare in today’s weddings.
I must admit I wasn’t as involved in planning this celebration as I was 20 years ago, realizing early on that my wife had a much clearer picture of what the celebration should be…also realizing after 20 years of being a husband that you don’t stand in the way of a wife with a vision this clear.
The event itself was simply amazing, competing in emotion and sentiment with our original wedding. I can’t think of a way it could have been any better.
There were a few critical parts of the event that stand out for my wife and me.
1. The vows of marriage renewal, made more special as they are followed by parental vows for our kids. This time, we did not only renew our commitments to love, honor and cherish each other, continuing to be good TO and FOR each other, but we also importantly, renewed our commitments to love, support, and inspire our children to help them become truly happy and successful, pursuing their true passions in life. We promised to always guide them in their life choices and decisions, which in the end are theirs to make. We vowed to overwhelm them with our time and our presence. In turn, our children responded, during the reception, with their messages of love, appreciation and gratitude. Our youngest, Iya, simply thanked us for always being there for her. Lucas, our only son, compared our love and support for him to a hammock, that is stretched by different forces on both sides, but kept balanced. Camille shared her appreciation for us her parents loving each other and staying devoted to each other, based on which our family remains whole.
2. We had a small group of invitees, beloved family of course, and dearest friends from across the years. And an old parish priest who has become almost part of our family. No more obligatory guests imposed by parents or work. Just a few well-chosen individuals who happened to make time for us and celebrate with us on a Thursday, a working day. And because we had a relatively small guest list, my wife and I both got to spend a fair amount of time with each group, catching up with long absent friends and laughing it up and enjoying the company of others.
3. Our children hosted the program, making the evening more personal and intimate – a mix of speeches, funny and sentimental, a fun and revealing game (Whose Trait is It Anyway?) and beautiful AV productions, home made by our daughter Camille and my brother-in-law, Mark, of our past and present, as well as on-site videos from JR Salonga. Our children are our link between our family and friends and can truly relate stories that entertain both groups.
4. Food always brings us together. Good food brings us closer together. So the one thing we could not compromise was the food. Chef Chris of My Kitchen just beside Paco Park did not disappoint with their delicious Panizzas, Rissotto, Osso Bucco, Lamb Ribs, Sausages, Pasta, etc. The Wedding Anniversary cakes- Lime Cheesecake, Belgian Chocolate Caramel and Chocolate Orange – were not display cakes. They were amazingly good. And they were served to guests as dessert, a perfect ending to a perfect celebration.
What was the most important reflection of the night? It validates our belief in how important it is to celebrate, remember and renew our significant life events before God and with family and friends – to share our joy and gratitude with Him and others and yes, to inspire others to wor k towards the same happiness. With 20 years of Having and Holding, I feel so blessed to have a wife who cares for me, understands most of me and continues to love me, warts and all. Celebrating with those we love has become more meaningful, our way of renewing our bonds with loved ones and, in my mind and heart, celebrating with these people who are an almost necessary part of our marriage, who have been with us all this time and who probably also love us, as we do them…warts and all.
(I particularly liked the addition of vows to their children, and it was captured creatively in their onsite video. Click link to watch video Roddy & Isca Having & Holding for 20 years)
On February 7, 2015 I will speak at the Parenting Academy, a parenting symposium by MLAC Institute of Psychological Services, Inc. headed by the country’s foremost child psychologist Dr. Honey Carandang, to be held at the St. Luke’s Hospital Global City, 5th floor from 9am to 5pm. Topics include Mindful Parenting, Parenting in the Digital Age, Parenting Children with Special Needs, Raising Children with High FQ, Connecting with your Teenager, Letting Go: How Parents Play. Speakers are Dr. Honey Carandang, Queena Lee-Chua, Maria Teresa Aguilar, Ma. Blesila de Asis, Marie Tessibeth Cordova, Joanna Herrera, Fiona Sandoval, Rica Bolipata, Criselda Yambao, Christopher Carandang, Belinda Morales, Rachel Ann Parr, Maris Marin, Olivia Carandang, Jaymee Leonen, and yours truly. Invocation is by Fr. Tito Caluag and Opening Remarks by Dr. Brigido Carandang. Workshop fee: P1,500 regular rate, and P700 Student rate. To register, please click Parenting Academy
(Rose Fres Fausto is the author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys (download free book sample) and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (a story and activity book for kids from 1 to 92). Click this link to watch the new and exciting Book Trailer. To read her other articles go to Author Archive of PhilStar.com, FQMom.com and RaisingPinoyBoys.com. Send your questions and comments via email to FQMomm@gmail.com. To watch her interviews and other videos, go to FQ Mom you tube channel.) This article is also published in PhilStar.com and RaisingPinoyBoys.com.