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Monday, September 22, 2003


"ONE NIGHT...ONE KISS...THREE WORDS"

This is a very touching email...Words can cut and wound feelings but they also have the power to heal and to forgive...

My parents had the perfect marriage, or so I thought. However, 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 Steinbach 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 a 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 13?

Why? Why can't they just love each other the way I love them both? Why can't they forgive, forget, and start all over again ? 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 one of those Sundays. 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 to be 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 for home.

"Thanks for taking us out 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.

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, for each other since I could remember.

No one really knew about it that Mom was about to give my sister, my brother, and me the greatest gift imaginable.

We all had some tense moments as we requested dad to stay back for dinner. Dinner was a quite affair. And finally it was time to leave.

It was 10:00 PM when Mom finished her work and 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 could sense she wasn't 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 being said, with compassion and love and tenderness like I had never seen or experienced before, she kissed her husband, our dad, on the cheek and whispered the golden words!

"And goodnight Tom! I love you too !"

And soon 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 you know why? Because one woman decided to love, and forgive, and forget -- decided to start all over
for her man. Because one mother 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, to reciprocate.

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 auspicious night, when love was reborn.

One night, one kiss, three words. The magic of those words lasted a lifetime & beyond! Thanks for the gift, mom and dad. I love you!

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It is always refreshing to know what is in your mind. Thanks!