I was cleaning up after supper, when he suggested that we sit out on the veranda for coffee. I turned around and saw the box of chocolate truffles waiting as an invitation for something more, a date with my husband on the porch swing. I could feel the excuses surfacing…remnants from supper lay hardening on dishes strewn all over the counter, crumbs scattered the floors, and bits of paper and pencils spread over the top of the kitchen cabinet, a medley of our children’s forgotten drawings and art projects. Not right now were the words on the tip of my tongue, and other excuses would doubtless follow. But, resisting the mundane, the ordinary routines, just for tonight, seemed within reason. His invitation to come, almost a dare.
He was looking out at the river, coffee cup in hand. I felt silly sitting there beside him, as if this was what we always did after supper. I tried not to make eye contact, for fear I would start to giggle at the sheer absurdity of it all. I am, in every respect, a creature of habit, but now I defy the mundane, the usual. How absurd this feels. I sip my coffee and observe the view.
Our second oldest, our intuitive daughter, noticed us together, and beckoned to the other younger two. I caught them spying on Mom and Dad, peeking at us from the archway covered in wild roses. They brought us flowers, petals from roses, peonies and weigela, pinecones and bits of greenery, and laid them in front of us on the wooden railing. To make it romantic, the oldest said with a delighted smile. They were enthralled with the spectacle of their parents, on a date, sitting on the porch swing. In broad light of day, nonetheless. They never see us like this, my husband whispered.
I was struck with the thought that the greatest love story our children are graced with, in this life, is that of their parent’s. When we, as parents and married lovers, allow our children to witness our genuine affection for one another, we provide for them a healthy example of what it is to love and show love within a covenant relationship. All too often, our children are observers of unhealthy relationships found in the media, among their peers or otherwise. All around us are examples of what not to do. Commitment is based on if it feels right or so long as it works for me. How refreshing it is to see children looking to the committed love of their parents as the model by which to base their own relationships some day.
It was a teachable moment for us all. We were serenaded, entertained and photographed. Under the direction of our daughters, my husband and I walked hand-in-hand as they captured each moment in freeze frame. Walk hand in hand one called out and lean your head in on his shoulder.
I almost lost precious memories and an opportunity to live out a testament to our married love, simply to wipe countertops and polish circles on the tabletop.