“We were both babies ourselves when we became parents. It was difficult at the time; however, we have come to realise what a blessing it was, as the experience is like one from a storybook.”
For Rosa and Jon DaCosta, the telling of how their relationship began differs slightly. But from then on, they are on the same page – and now, 23 years later, they are about to celebrate their 17th wedding anniversary two days before Valentine’s Day. To Rosa, Jon was the “skinny guy” who didn’t seem interested in her in high school, but Jon tells it differently: “Rosa was my high school dream girl. From the moment I saw her, it was love at first sight for me.” Fearful of being hurt, he played it cool, but soon a friend conspired to get Rosa Jon’s beeper number and the rest is history.
The couple had their son Brandon a year after they met and were engaged two years later, in a romantic proposal that Jon flawlessly planned. Rosa had been working at a busy license plate office and one day a delivery of flowers showed up. The card’s message was clear, even with the florist’s grammatical error: “Will you married me?”. The whole office – including the numerous people waiting in line – broke into applause when they realised what had happened, and at that moment her phone rang. It was Jon asking her what was her answer.
On 12 February 2000, they were married in front of 165 of their closest friends and family, followed by a party so memorable friends still talk about it to this day, from the nervous best man’s toast to the serious look on Jon’s face during the church ceremony, to how long the dancing went on for.
Having met and married in Miami, Florida, seven years ago Jon decided to leave the hectic pace of the corporate world and move home to Cayman, where his family run the painting company Paint Pros Ltd. The family – Jon and Rosa’s 20-year-old son Brandon and 15-year-old daughter Brianna included – settled in quickly to life in Cayman. Brianna still attends St. Ignatius Catholic School while Brandon is at university in the United States. Some of Rosa and Jon’s favourite things to do together include travelling – often visiting friends in Miami – or just going out for dinner, often to Camana Bay, where Rosa works. They also like to spend time sitting on the rocking chairs along The Crescent overlooking the water. “We are very blessed to be able to live where some vacation,” Rosa says.
Their advice for couples who want to also one day say they have been together for more than two decades, is to not sweat the small stuff, forgive each other as quickly as you can, enjoy your differences, keep a sense of humour, put God first in your relationship, realise that marriage is work – the more you put into it, the more you get out of it – and that it is based on love. “Love does not keep count of the mistakes each other makes,” Jon adds. Rosa agrees. “After 23 total years together, we have learned that love is a decision, not an emotion.”