Friday, March 05, 2004

~*~ One Night, One Kiss, Three Words ~*~

My parents had the perfect marriage, or so I thought. But one day in the 60's changed that thinking

It was 1963. The Dodgers won the World Series over the hated
Yankees. "My" Texas Longhorns were 11-0 and beat Roger Staubach and Navy in the Cotton Bowl, and were crowned the national champions. Life was pretty good for a 13-year old living in Texas

Then that fateful night arrived. The day innocence was shattered the moment in history when I discovered fairy tales were exactly
that - fairy tales. It was the night an appalling truth crashed upon
me. Mom and dad did not have the perfect marriage. In fact, mom and dad hated each other

I do not recall what they argued about that night. But I remember
enough to know that I wish I had never been born. And the fighting intensified as the weeks went by

And finally, Dad moved out

Writing this, I wonder if parents really comprehend the impact that those words - "dad moved out" - have on a child, even a child of

Why? Why can't they just love each other the way I love them both? Why can't they forgive, forget, and start over? And why is
?God doing this to me
?Why doesn't the hurt go away

And why can't my daddy live with us? Parents at times forget how bad kids can hurt

But sometimes parents remember

It was a Sunday. Dad called. ?You guys want to play golf
!What a dumb question

Dad, don't you realize that all I want to do is to be with you? Ever
since you moved out, life has taken a tumble. I have pimples, I'm
fat, and all the girls laugh at me. I have one friend in the entire
world, and he's kind of weird too. I don't care about my grades
yet I do care. I miss you dad. I'll do anything with you

Sure, Dad, we'll play golf with you

And so we played, but didn't talk much. But darkness came much too soon, and as much as I dreaded it, we were headed home.
Thanks for taking us dad. Do you have to go so soon? Please stay a few minutes. Mom is not home. You can leave when she gets here. Please dad

So he stayed. We drank ice tea. But mostly we sat, dreading the
coming separation

And mom walked through the door

To understand the impact of that night, a few painful facts need to be known. They had been living apart for a few months, but had been separated for years. They had not kissed, or hugged, or held hands, or slept in the same bed for years. They had not, at least to my knowledge, used the word 'love' to each other since I could remember

Whether she knew it or not, Mom was about to give my sister, my
brother, and me the greatest gift imaginable

It was 10:00 when she came in. She announced that she was going to bed

"Goodnight Ann. I love you." And she kissed my sister on the
cheek. "Goodnight Richard. I love you." And she kissed my brother on the cheek. "Goodnight David. I love you." And she kissed me on the cheek

And she paused. We sensed she was not yet through with the
goodnights. But there was only one person left in the room

He was sitting in a big chair to my left. And though it has been 35
years since that night, I still can see his face, and hers

She walked over to him. Without a word, and with compassion and love and tenderness like I had never seen before, she kissed her husband, our daddy, on the cheek

And I love you too, Tom , she said

And she left the room. Dad said goodnight to us and left. No one
mentioned the miracle we had experienced

The next day, dad came home to stay. And for 27 years, they held hands, and hugged, and kissed, and loved each other with the love of the ages

And why? Because one woman decided to love, and forgive, and forget - decided to start all over. Because one woman saw the hurt and the pain three children were going through. And because one man decided to accept that unconditional love, and to give it back

Years later, mom had breast cancer. They were both old by then. I came into the hospital room after traveling all day to get there. As
I walked into the room, there was dad sitting in a big chair to my
left. He was holding his bride's hand, and stroking her hair. And my
mind raced back to that fateful night, when love was reborn

One night, one kiss, three words

Thanks for the gift, mom and dad. I love you

~ by David Mathews ~

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