Beholding giant statues of Greek gods, listening to the Beetles back from the dead, watching death-defying stunts – all beautiful Vegas memories!! But nothing was more noteworthy on our Vegas Family Vacation than talking with my granduncle, Pepe about seventy years of marriage. (Pepe & his lovely wife Leila, pictured left.)
The real reason we were in Las Vegas that weekend was to celebrate my grandma’s brother, Pepe (who turned 90), and his wife, Leila, (as they also celebrated their 70thwedding anniversary). Family poured in from Arizona, New Mexico, California, and all across the country for a great big Mexican celebration!! I learned five important things on this special occasion.
My Grandma can dance! When my grandma and her brother first saw each other (pictured right), the last of nine siblings, finally reunited after several years, they both welled up tears of joy. Later that night, they lit up the dance floor together. I held my breath as my grandma glided across the dance floor like she was twenty years old, graceful, rhythmic, beautiful. Granduncle Pepe did pretty good too! Officially, ninety-years old, his moves made me want to get out there and dance!
Marriage requires lots of laughter!
I was touched to hear Pepe and Leila recommit their wedding vows after seventy years. Seventy years!!! That is a lot of life to hang together, stay committed, and still love being with each other. Their secret? They love to smile and laugh. It was always a good time to smile and laugh with them. This a wonderful trait runs in the family and my grandma has definitely passed it down the Montoya line – sometimes you just have to laugh! At the end of the night, I told Granduncle Pepe he inspired me and asked him to share the rest of his secret sauce.
Own it when you’re wrong!
He said you have to communicate and be committed to working things out. You can’t let things go unresolved. When you realize you are wrong, you have to admit to it.
Say it over dinner.
He said when you think the other person is wrong, you have to explain yourself to them without being argumentative. He recommended sharing your side of the story over a meal instead of the heat of emotion.
Sometimes all you need is a tv!
He said that he could remember a time when they would argue every day because of the television. He had his shows to watch and she had her shows to watch and it was never equitable no matter how much they tried to come to an understanding. They would argue about chores, timing, and workload. When he got to the root of the issue and realized how important her novellas were to her, he bought her her own television set that she loves. (I later confirmed she really does love her television set and it made all the difference). This reminded me that sometimes there are really simple solutions to complex problems that merely require a little creative problem-solving.
Granduncle Pepe, thank you for teaching me so much from your life and making me see that seventy years strong is attainable! Before I left, my grandma’s brother made me promise I would come back. “You must come back when I turn 100. We will have another big party!”
I absolutely plan on it!
(Laughter runs in the family!)
(This is a true statement – I want to dance like my grandma!)
(Grandma is so proud of her brother!)
(Family photo after my grandma’s dance!)