40 Years and Counting!

I write this piece with absolute pride, as the two people this story revolves around are my wonderful parents!

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45 years ago at the young age of 15 a boy met a girl and took her out on their first date…a football match:) and from that moment on, they started a beautiful journey I would like to share with you!

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After 4 years of ‘going steady’, a handsome Gary Keith Winters married a beautiful Carol Ann Holpen at the age of 19. They made such a stunning couple on their wedding day even though dad was in a terrible car accident weeks before and had his arm in plaster!!

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Once they tied the knot and declared their love in front of all their loved ones, dad was sent to Singapore to serve in the army and mum being the supportive wife she is, went with him as he was to be away for a year! What an experience…19, newlyweds and living in Singapore, I know I wouldn’t have been ready for that at such a young age!

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Once they returned from Singapore they spent the next couple of years working hard to buy their first home…our family home that we grew up in and the home they still reside in today! They first became parents at 22 to twin girls, my sisters Michelle and Peta. Mum only found out after she gave birth to Michelle that there was another baby to be born! Imagine being told “Mrs Winters you have another baby in there you need to get ready to push again!”….”ummm no thank you, I only ordered one!!!!” Ahhh thank goodness technology has improved lol! Then 6 years later after suffering a heartbreaking miscarriage in between, I was born!

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Growing up in the Winters household meant lots of love, laughter and joy! The girls and I have truly been blessed with such wonderful parents who are so selfless and loving! They always worked so hard to provide a roof over our head, food on the table, clothes on our backs and always gave us the best holidays, birthdays and Christmas! The best childhood memories anyone could ask for!

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As we grew older and started to achieve great things with our sport and academics, mum and dad always supported us and again worked really hard to help us make our dreams and goals come true! We were all so lucky to have magical wedding days and the support of our parents when buying our first house, car and making the decision to start a family!

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Throughout all of this the one common factor that my parents relationship has sustained is love! They are still the most selfless people I know and they still work really hard to help us all out and now it’s not just three daughters, it’s also three son in laws and 7 beautiful grandchildren! But the love my parents share is even greater than the day that boy met a girl and took her out on their very first date!

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Now that we are all grown up, moved out of home and have families of our own, it’s mum and dad’s time to relish in each other again. They have such a great life together and it’s so nice after 40 years of marriage that they still make each other laugh and enjoy spending time together – be it at Diggers on a Friday night, on holidays at Palm Beach or spending time with their grandchildren!

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Which brings me to ask the question….can high school sweethearts last the distance?? So many people are quick to judge couples who have been in a committed relationship from a young age….”they won’t last!”, “what would they know about love, they were so young when they started going out!”, “they’ll get sick of each other eventually!”

I believe high school sweethearts or young love can last forever! Who says that you can’t have one true love?! How many people divorce that aren’t high school sweet hearts?! I really don’t think it matters if you are high school sweethearts or not if you love someone and want to be with them forever, it is possible, but like everything you have to work at it and make an effort! Marriage isn’t easy, it’s about flexibility, working as a team and compromising…..even my parents know that. They’ve had their ups and downs but never once did they give up!

I feel so blessed that I have two wonderful role models in my life that I can look up to and be inspired by! I’ve had exposure to wonderful parenting, a great marriage and now fantastic grandparenting! Kane and I are high school sweethearts and I can only hope that in 30 years time we are as happy and in love as my parents are today!

How many of you out there married your high school sweetheart or first love?

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