Glasses are iconic for the golden years of Mom and Dad. When Mom cannot find one of her two pairs in use, she calls for Dad, even if I’m around. I do volunteer, but Dad, his strong glasses on, would always fetch Mom’s right pair first. Sometimes Dad doesn’t have his glasses on, and they go through the list of Mom’s favorite glass-keeping places together and aloud, while I and my husband are joyfully seen to another cup of coffee.
Their engineering careers had to do with detecting microscopic deviations from technical standards. When I left their home, some twenty years ago, maintenance workers were still having a hard time with Dad, who would detect the smallest deviations in their work with the naked eye. Luckily, Mom, who saw those deviations too, would not consider them glitches.
Now Mom, who cannot adjust to progressive lenses, has two pairs of glasses. Dad’s glasses are rather strong. The point is I grew up in their home, but now each of them knows the other’s new habits and needs best. Now it’s also a question of trust. When I was a child, I would let no one else but Dad clean my bruises. Mom and Dad now rely on each other to a degree that I and my husband still have to reach.
They both confessed of love at first sight that had the power to shatter different languages, religions, and social statuses away at one glance. There were hardships and sickness to go through, after that. Their midlife crisis was, therefore, huge. Ending it cost them all their savings, before becoming another cheerful memory. The smaller half of the money got them divorced; the rest obtained them a cancellation of the sentence within the same week.
Mom ceased to see Dad as her spotless champion, after that. But he still is her favorite worldly hero. Dad switched to a challenging job, and harmony continued unbroken until a couple of years ago, when Mom gave up smoking and became oversensitive to cigarette smoke. Dad’s age-old smoking habits gave birth to Mom’s anti-smoking habits and to their first complaints against each other.
These minor but persistent complaints are rather hilarious. Never once through hardships or sickness have family members or friends heard anything even remotely close to complaints. After a deep but silent midlife crisis, after twin lives totally lacking complaints, each would finally tell his/ her own version of small gestures that are anything but noteworthy. They tell on each other independently and twice, first to me and then to my husband. The stories are about smoking.
My parents still have uncommonly favorable opinions on each other. This makes agreeing with the Plaintiff (against an absent Defendant) anything but recommendable. I and my husband finally figured this out. Mom needs one’s initial agreement followed by mild and suggestive disagreement. Dad needs gentle but firm disagreement all the time. There’s so much love in the way they pseudo-criticize each other that, sometimes, I have problems with putting on a straight face.
Fun aside, Mom and Dad have become totally protective of each other. Each of them had a stroke and recovered well, after being watched over by the other. In both cases, I traveled to see them immediately, but all they needed was each other. Dad had several health issues to deal with after that, but is well now. They have been prescribed pills for daily use. Instead of each following his/her own medication routine, Mom would see to Dad’s pills being in the right place at the right time, and Dad would do the same for Mom.
Dad still postpones true retirement from his rather difficult job. Mom says quitting would knock him down. Dad still goes to bed at 2 A.M and Mom still wakes up at 5 A.M. Somehow they manage to go on many short trips, despite that. Mom, the rambler, is in charge with choosing intricate routes and Dad, the spender, is in charge with safety and fun. I and my husband are their favorite diversion from an otherwise full life. Our duty is listening to the stories.