The images of Marvin Brewington, 70, and Wanda Brewington, 67, of Raleigh, N.C., were shot by their daughter, wedding photographer Amber Robinson, who uploaded them to Instagram, to the cheers of more than 7,000 people.
“In this wonderful creative industry that I worked in, I focus so much on providing couple hours with a day of beautiful photography. To be honest, rarely do I stop to think about the day, weeks, months or years that follow a wedding day,” Robinson wrote on the post. “So today I share with you what those years after can look like when true love exists. These are my parents: married for 47 years, they have triumphed over cancer … twice. Have raised two successful daughters. They have been poor together and rich together. They have fed, sheltered, and advised countless lost souls. They love without expectation and give freely, whatever it is they have to offer. I am SO proud to call them Mom and Dad. They are the epitome of where I strive to be in my own marriage and a constant reminder that a wedding is only a day, but a marriage is forever.”
Robinson added: “If you are one of the millions in love, or maybe one of the millions of broken-hearted that need a visual reminder that love always endures, I would love for you to share this as a way of letting my mom and dad know, they are an inspiration to anyone who wants, believes, or is in love.”
However, Robinson wasn’t always so enamored by her parents’ affection. “Growing up, my sister and I thought it was disgusting to see our parents hug and kiss so much, but now, as a married woman, I understand,” Robinson, a mother of four in Raleigh, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “But we also grew up with a realistic version of love — my dad has multiple sclerosis and survived prostate cancer twice — and he leaned on my mom for support.”
Robinson’s parents met in 1968 at Livingstone College in Salisbury. “My dad was a football star, a fraternity guy, and a major player with all the girls,” says Robinson. “My mom was shy and from a small mountain town, but she caught his eye. He asked her out multiple times before she said yes.”
However, Marvin didn’t exactly make the best first impression on Wanda’s parents. “My dad didn’t have a car, so he hitchhiked at least 150 miles to my grandparents’ home in Wilkesboro,” says Robinson. “Then, for Sunday dinner, my grandmother made roast beef, mashed potatoes, biscuits, green beans, and sweet potato pie. But my father ate so much food, scraping the bowls clean. My grandmother was shocked, and my grandfather said, ‘He’s got to go.’ Then they fell in love with him.”
After marrying in 1970, the couple struggled with infertility for 10 years before having two daughters and endured financial hardship. “One summer, all we ate was corn and potatoes from my grandfather’s garden, and at the time, I thought it was just an awesome idea — as an adult, I learned that my dad had taken sick leave from his job as an American Airlines engineer and my mom’s salary at the DMV made it hard to afford groceries.”
Robinson snaps her parents for their annual Christmas card and this year asked them to go formal, with professional hair and makeup. “While shooting, I wanted genuine laughter, so I gave them prompts like, ‘Whisper your favorite cupcake flavor in your dirtiest voice’ or ‘When I count to three, yell a bad word as loudly as you can,’” says Robinson. “For this particular photo, I asked my mom to tell my dad why she was proud of him.”
No one was prepared for the images of her parents to go viral, least of all Wanda, who told her daughter, “No one wants to see two old people kissing.” Yet social media called the image everything from inspiring and beautiful to #relationshipgoals.
“The photo shoot rekindled a spark between them,” says Robinson. “They were like two high school kids, so sweet and giggly. It really warmed my heart.”
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