Dad said to me one evening after dinner, as Mom and I bustled around with kitchen cleanup, “Rog, do you know how huggable your mother is? She is the most huggable person in the whole world.” He was too tired to stand just at that moment, and told Mom that if she ambled close to him, he would give her a hug. She rolled her eyes, and she ambled. “I need a hug,” Dad explained as he put his arms around her waist. She patted him reassuringly on the arm. “Rog,” Dad continued, “do you know you have the best mother in the whole world? Aren’t you just so lucky?” I do, I thought, and I am. Indeed. These occasional sweet expressions and displays of conjugal affection move me. Mom and Dad get on each other’s nerves on a daily basis, but they love each other and are devoted to one another. They cherish each other, and the family institution they have created. I need their example—the world needs their example. I need to believe marriage can work, and as they approach their 60th wedding anniversary, and as I see them work on their marriage every day, at being kind and patient and understanding, I can believe. The next time they snip at one another, I may remind them about their mutual huggability, and suggest Mom amble over in Dad’s direction.
Pictured above: Dad (86) and huggable Mom (82), with my sister and niece.