Today, my cousin Zoe and her husband Ro (yes, Zoe and Ro) are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. Firstly, I have to offer them some very heartfelt congratulations. This is a very special and momentous occasion, and it’s not often that you get to celebrate with someone something as special as 25 years of marriage.
Although I think they would both be the first to tell you that is has not exactly been 25 years of bliss (everyone has their ups and downs), the fact they have been together for so long is amazing, although not exactly surprising.
Zoe is my cousin and my Godmother. She was always the trailblazer in my family, given that she is the oldest – umm, I meant to say elder – of the 10 cousins on my mother’s side of the family. She is the one that bridged the gap between the aunts and uncles and the ‘kids’. And she is the one that took me under her wing and made sure that I learned not only from her mistakes and failures, but also from the mistakes and failures of everyone else. I guess that was the advantage I had of being second to last of the bunch. “No, really. You go first. I’ll just sit back and learn.”
Zoe is, by nature, a nurturer. She has a gift that allowed her to apply her soft approach to my problems and always let me find the solution. She never told me what to do, but rather pointed me in the right direction and let me find the answers on my own. As I grew older, and bolder, we did not always see eye to eye. But we always knew that our differences of opinion were exactly that, and nothing could ever break the bond we have had quite literally all my life.
In Ro I always found intellect and forward thinking. He is one of the 5 smartest people I have ever met personally. And as ambitious and professionally aggressive as he can be, he is the one that taught me that managing is always about people first. The biggest responsibility you have as a manager is that you are in a position to affect people’s lives. And that is nothing to take lightly.
Zoe and Ro provided so much for me, from grade school through high school and into college. They were always a source of knowledge, entertainment and, on more than one occasion, money. I also told them both this morning they have always been an inspiration to me, and their milestone achievement should be an inspiration to everyone else. It should serve as a reminder that even though life is not always ice cream and apple pie, genuine love endures. And it is this love that makes everything better and worthwhile.
Congratulations again, Zoe and Ro. I love you both very much, and I owe so much of who I am and where I am to you. May the next 25 be as beautiful and romantic and rewarding as the first 25 have been.