Loves That Last A Lifetime
The beautiful bride, wearing a knee-length vintage ecru lace dress, holding a bouquet of red roses, walked down the aisle accompanied by her two beautiful daughters, and her cute and bubbly grandchild. The handsome groom waited by the altar, gazing lovingly at his bride. His son-in-law and soon to be son-in-law waited with him, huge smiles on their faces, looking at the beautiful ladies whom they love very much, walking beside the bride.
Teresita Dela Paz-Dela Rosa felt like she was transported back in time at that moment. It was in this very church that she had married her childhood friend and sweetheart, Arturo, 35 years ago. She didn’t know how she managed to get through that ceremony as she felt like she was floating from sheer happiness, thinking that finally, she and her beloved will be joined by God. The faces of their families and friends then were like a blur to her. Looking at the people inside the church now, she was happy to see that most of the people who shared their special journey were here with them again on this special occasion in hers and her husband’s married life.
In that instance, Arturo Dela Rosa was also thinking of the time he was nervously waiting for his beautiful bride where is standing now, more than three decades ago, a wonderful lifetime ago. There was that feeling of anticipation, that finally she would be his, and they will be together finally to start their journey as husband and wife.
Now, their marriage as strong as when they started it, they are renewing their vows in the presence of their two wonderful and beautiful daughters, grandchild and the additions to their family, the wonderful and good men that their daughters chose to be with, and their families and friends who have been with them most of their married life, through thick and thin, sadness and happiness.
Teresita, Maya, Cristina Rose and Cho reached Arturo, Richard and Jeff several minutes after the wedding march started and they walked through the length of the San Nicolas Church bedecked with all kinds of roses. Maya and Cristina Rose entrusted their Mom to their Dad, who took hold of her hand to lead her to the waiting priest, Father Ronaldo.
It was also the sisters and the men in their lives cues to find their seats to witness this momentous occasion in their parents’ lives. Jeff assisted Cristina Rose and Cho to their seats. While Richard gazing at Maya lovingly, intertwined their hands while they were walking to their designated seats, beside Roberto and Esmeralda Lim who were also invited to the renewal of vows of the Dela Rosas, when they found out that they would like to go with Richard and Maya to Mindoro to meet them for a pamamanhikan.
Richard smiled, seeing his parents holding hands too when they approached them. Probably his Mama and Papa were also remembering their renewal of vows years ago. His father looked at his mother with so much love, which he finds amazing after all these years, and the challenges they faced together. His mother was the same, very much in love with his father despite all her loving complaint that sometimes he forgets the important dates in their lives. Richard guess a love that lasts a lifetime is like that. You love the whole person and that marriage is a two-way street which also involves compromises, adjustments and meeting each other halfway among other aspects. He would like something like that with Maya. He knows that is what he would have with Maya. Soon!
Maya was teary-eyed as she looked at her parents in front of the altar. She hopes she and Richard will be able to do that also during their lifetime, celebrate not only their 25th, 35th, 40th wedding anniversary, but their golden one as well. She looked down at their intertwined hands and felt so very happy. Soon it will be hers and Richard’s turn to be bound by God in marriage.
Richard lifted his and Maya’s intertwined hands and kissed her hand lovingly, then gazed at her with all the love he is feeling. “I love you, Sweetheart.” Richard whispered. “Soon it will be us there.”
“I love you too, Sweetheart.” Maya whispered back. “I’m counting the days.”
They gaze lovingly at each other, and continued to hold hands while they witnessed the renewal of vows of Maya’s parents.
Richard and Maya have already decided that they too, will get married at this very beautiful and very old church in San Nicolas.
The Lims, Maya and Manang Fe arrived at the Dela Rosa Farm in San Nicolas, Mindoro two days before the wedding anniversary celebration of Maya’s parents. Mommy Tere put the Lims in the beautiful guest cottage beside the main house. That very same evening they arrived, the Dela Rosas hosted a dinner for the Lims.
While having dinner both families talked about Richard and Maya’s upcoming wedding. It was then that Maya and Richard told their parents that they would like a small, private wedding with only family and friends, and that they want it to be held in the church in San Nicolas. Manang Fe will be one of the principal sponsors, a gesture that touched the heart and made Maya’s old nanny cried in happiness.
Mommy Tere and Daddy Arturo were very happy with their decision to get married in San Nicolas. Donya Esme and Don Roberto also assured the couple that they are okay with their decision to have a private wedding and in Mindoro.
Don Roberto offered to take care of the logistics. He said the company plane can be used to fly all the guests who are coming from Manila. On the other hand, Maya’s dad said, he will take care of the accommodations for the Manila guests as one his friends own the newly-built hotel in the area. All the guests can be accommodated by his friend’s hotel, he assured. He then offered the use of the guest cottage again to the Lims.
Donya Esmeralda thanked Daddy Arturo but said they it would be better if stay at the hotel para hindi magkita accidentally ang bride and groom before the wedding, as per tradition.
“Mama, hindi naman ako tatakas para silipin si Maya sa room niya.” Richard teased his mother. “Makakapaghintay naman ako, promise.”
“Hahahaha, son, I know pero mabuti na ang sigurado. Saka para makasama ka namin pa ng Papa mo sa last night mo bilang bachelor.” Donya Esmeralda said affectionately.
“O sige na nga po.” Richard said, grateful and happy for the love of his parents. “I love you Mama, and ikaw din Papa.”
Both Mommy Tere and Mama Esme then asked Maya what help would she need pa for the wedding preparations. They insisted on helping even if Maya and Richard had hired a wedding planner.
Maya thanked her mom and future mother-in-law. With Manang Fe, they discussed what needs to be done. Maya and Rafi has agreed on the design of her gown. She and Richard had already picked their wedding rings. She told her mom, Mama Esme and Manang Fe that what is left would be the food for the reception and where it would be held.
Mama Esme, Mommy Tere and Manang Fe told Maya to leave that to the three of them. Everyone stayed up late that night, with the exception of Cristina Rose and her family as Cho was feeling sleepy already. Manang Fe also asked to be excused as she felt tired from the trip. The Dela Rosas and the Lims chatted and got to know one another again over desserts, cups of coffee and bottles of wine. They talked about common friends and at the same time, took turns in teasing their son and daughter about making sure that they will have an apo soon after the wedding.
“Oo nga naman, son.” Mama Esme said. “Buti nga ikaw, Balae Tere, may Pocholo na. Kami nitong si Roberto, wala pa.”
“Ma, don’t worry, Maya and I will work on it double time.” Richard said grinning. It earned him a loving pinch from his blushing bride-to-be.” Ouch, naman, Sweetheart. Gusto mo bang ma-dissappoint sina Mama at Papa, saka nina Mom and Dad.” He added naughtily. Maya’s parents asked him to call them that. In the same manner that Donya Esmeralda and Don Roberto told Maya, after they got engaged, to call them Mama and Papa na.
“O sige na nga po. Apo kaagad kung apo.” Maya said laughing.
“That’s the spirit, hija.” Mama Esme said, smiling at her future daughter-in-law.
“Sana girl ang una niyong anak, Maya, Richard. Di ba, Balae Esme?” Mommy Tere said. “Pero on the other hand, boy or girl, basta, healthy, happy na kaming lahat na mga magulang ninyo.”
“I agree, Balae.” Mama Esme said. “Saka kapag boy ang una, eh di try ulit for a girl. I wish nga na merong kapatid itong si Ricky, kaso hindi na kami pinalad pang magkaanak muli ni Roberto. Di bale, malapit na akong magkaanak ng babae. Kapag nakasal itong mga anak natin.”
“Mama Esme, I’m so touched naman po.” Maya went to her future mother-in-law and hugged her affectionately. “Thank you po ulit. I’m glad na magkakaroon ako ng isa pang nanay.”
“I should be the one thanking you, Maya. You made my Ricky very happy and us too.” Richard’s mother told Maya.
Seeing this exchange, Mommy Tere thanked God again that her daughter is marrying into a good family and that she would be very much loved too. She is very happy for her youngest.
Maya and Richard walked around the huge farm the second day of their stay there, having their own Richard and Maya moment amid the preparation for the special occassion the following day. The two families also had a wonderful and fun-filled picnic by the stream at the edge of the property that day. Don Roberto kept telling Maya’s parents and Donya Esmeralda that he wanted something like the farm’s set up when he finally retires from LC. He also looked pointedly at his son while saying so.
“Papa, I know.” Richard said with a smile. “More than one year na lang naman!” His father will turned 60 by then and by that time, he knows he can already and he is more confident in taking the reins from him. “I promised I will take over. I will do my very best para wala ka nang iintindihin kapag naging gentleman farmer ka gaya ni Daddy Arturo.”
“Thank you son.” Don Roberto said as he patted his son’s shoulder affectionately.
When they returned to the house, Emman was already there. Maya had asked him a favor, to host the wedding party of her parents as Emman is very good at it. He was not able to travel with them the day before as he had a prior commitment. The two friends updated each other. Mommy Tere put Emman in Cristina Rose’s old room.
The morning of Arturo and Teresita Dela Rosa’s renewal of vows everyone at the farm was in a festive move. The workers set up the tents that would be used for the party afterwards, very early. Early that afternoon, the caterers also set up the chairs and table all over the lawn and garden of the main house. In every table they placed a vase of red roses, the flowers that Daddy Arturo gave Mommy Tere when he proposed to her.
Now, as Richard and Maya listened to Daddy Arturo and Mommy Tere’s vows for each other, like everyone present, they were teary-eyed, feeling the love these two have for each other after all these years. Maya’s parents finished their vows with the promise, that God willing, they will be back in that very church to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
More than an hour later, after the picture taking, everyone traveled back to the Dela Rosa Farm for the wedding party. The place looked magical at twilight. More so when it got dark and all the lights placed by the workers that morning twinkled like stars in the night. After everyone has eaten the sumptuous food prepared by Mommy Tere’s friend Elizabeth, Emman announced that Maya and her sister Cristina Rose prepared a special video presentation for their parents. Everyone stopped chatting to watch it.
The sisters made a movie of the milestone in their parents lives with Emman’s help. Maya and Emman edited the whole thing several days before they left for Mindoro. It was Cristina Rose’s job naman to scan old photo albums and e-mail it to Maya. Everyone happily went back in time with Arturo and Tere with the video the sisters made. Mommy Tere and Daddy Arturo were very touched at their daughters’ effort. They thanked their daughters and also everyone who were sharing that special day with them.
Emman announced soon after that the floor is open for dancing. Everyone had a merry time dancing with the music he and Maya, together with the DJ they hired, selected, which included Maya’s parents favorite songs and music from the 70s, 80s and early 90s. The first time the music shifted into a slow love song, Richard asked Maya to dance.
“Happy, Sweetheart!” Richard asked Maya softly.
“Of course, who wouldn’t be! With you here with me, celebrating my parents’ milestone, I’m so happy.” Maya whispered back as she and Richard danced with nary space between their bodies. “I wish we will be as happy as our parents in our married life.”
“We will be, Sweetheart. We will work on it.” Richard assured Maya as he gave her a gentle kiss while they were swaying to the music, lost in their own world, looking forward to their journey towards forever in two months time.