A few months ago, my folks celebrated their 64th anniversary. It wasn't supposed to happen - at least, not according to the other couples with whom they were close friends when they were first married. Mom and Dad fought. And - not just a little. It was plenty. Odds on how long they'd remain Mr. and Mrs. Kaplan ranged from under a year, to two or three.
Obviously, the oddsmakers were wrong.
Sixty four years later, they still fight. I talked to Mom about ten days ago, and she began to rail about something Dad had done (or not, as the case may be). I calmed her down a bit with the old "Mom; they're all like that!" comment. "Men?" she inquired. "Yeah," I responded. (Sorry guys....) I told her she could have done a lot worse, and she agreed. "I know."
This week, Mom knows more than ever. I came to Florida five days ago for my monthly visit, and less than 2 days later, I was awakened at 6AM by Mom's whistle. (Mom has a great deal of difficulty moving these days, so her whistle alerts us that she needs something.)
Mom really did need something. Dad had bent over to give her a kiss, lost his balance, and fell. We're not quite certain exactly what happened. The upshot, however, was that he was in excrutiating pain and clearly not doing well. The ambulance came - and - Dad got admitted to the hospital with an embolism in his leg.
I followed the ambulance to the hospital, monitored Dad's tests and made sure all went as best as possible. After a day guarding him, I came home to report to Mom. The next two days, however, she was leaving nothing up to my inexperience. Despite the difficulty to get up to his room, she insisted on visiting.
Suddenly, all the imperfections of Dad and their marriage seemed about as miniscule as they could get. All Mom could think about was, as she put it, "How he takes care of me from when he first gets up until he goes to bed." And - believe me, Dad loves every minute of it. Whether it's getting the morning paper and separating her favorite sections, preparing all her meals, fixing her computer or helping to arrange her legs as she gets ready for bed at night, Dad is there, making sure that Mom has what she needs and wants.
Room 3201 at JFK hospital may not look like a love nest. But - trust me. With Mom and Dad together, it definitely is.