Yesterday I stopped by my parent’s house to drop off a Father’s Day gift for my dad. My mom was sound asleep on the sofa, wiped out from her new schedule on dialysis. Over a month ago, her kidneys suddenly stopped working. She spent two weeks in the hospital. It’s been a long, hard couple months for her, my dad and our whole family. You know how hospital stays are … feels like holding your breath forever just waiting for a positive outcome.
My dad and I were standing in the kitchen when he asked me to come to the study. “I want to show you something.” Anybody in our whole big ole family knows that when Papa says he wants to show you something, you’ll be sitting in the study watching or listening to things online for hours. At eighty-three years old, he’s incredibly computer and social media savvy. And intensely curious.
I sat down and he pointed to the screen. “Just watch this … it’s great. Les Brown is so good. And just look at Jo Ann’s countenance … how she’s dressed … so classy. People are really different nowadays. Isn’t this just great?! Oh … watch that sax player. Mimi loves the saxophone.”
We watched the whole song. I’ve got it here for you. Because maybe you need a classy throwback to remember the world isn’t going to hell in a hand basket. (I super love that Les calls Jo Ann a ‘young lady’ and camera man in suit and bow tie.)
Afterward, Daddy paused and looked at me with tears in his eyes, “We could have lost her. There was a time at the hospital we could have lost Mimi.”
I looked up at him, “Yes, Papa. But she’s here. And she’s doing good. We’re all doing good now.”
He turned back to the screen, “I love Mimi just the way she is. That’s how marriage works. I love her just the way she is right now. And she loves me just the way I am, too.”
Fifty something years later, it’s true. My parents love each other just the way they are.
My dad is loving and serving my mom with all kinds of tenderness and affection in this difficult season. Kind of a classy throwback, you know? A man who loves his wife no matter what, who serves her no matter what. And I could say exactly the same of my mom loving and serving my dad throughout their marriage. She is a good wife. The kindest wife. And the best mother and Mimi.
Quite an accomplishment. That’s real romance … loving each other the way they are, wherever they are, come what may. That makes for the happiest kind of Father’s Day for a kid like me.
PS. Just so you know, my dad was well aware Billy Joel wrote and recorded the Just the Way You Are. He proudly showed me he had already purchased the CD on Amazon and streamed it for free. Wowser. Classic.