A little story about the meaning of life.
We have been waiting together for two years in a row to get the kids from kindergarten. I – my daughter, he – his granddaughter.
I can’t even remember when the polite nod became a short conversation, when what was said broke the walls of cliche and started letting in specks of meaning.
About a week ago his wife came to the kindergarten instead. Slightly worried, I asked if everything is alright. She told me that her husband needed to stay in the hospital for the night for some test and that everything was alright, except the kiss. I didn’t go further into the subject, but that unasked question was nailed on my “to do” board.
Yesterday we met again, started talking and I decided to take away the muzzle of elementary gossip curiosity. I asked him about the kiss. His answer lasted for at least ten minutes, by the last ones of which my jaw dropped to my knees.
– Ever since I was little, my grandfather used to say that a man has two responsibilities in the morning:
First to kiss his wife and make her a compliment, second – to make the family laugh at breakfast.
Sometimes the woman will not want a kiss and will pull away, but you have to go after her. Once you step back, it will happen again and again, it will become more frequent and more difficult to catch her. There will be times when you will not want to kiss her.
But just as the fields, the blacksmith, and the cattle, the woman also needs perseverance. You will kiss her.
Then you make her a compliment. Even if it is something like: Oh, those dark tones under your nails suit you so much!
Then you gather the family for breakfast. And you make everyone laugh. Everyone. You’ll talk nonsense until their eyes shine. You will tell them how nice it is that they have yesterday’s salad between their teeth, you will talk about the wonderful blizzard or about your favorite dust from the fields. You’ll make them laugh.
Only then you’re ready to start your day and whatever it brings, even if someone doesn’t live until the evening, you will know that your wife has been kissed and your children – smiling. And that is how they will remain in your memories.
(This is an approximately quoted narrative for the advices of the grandfather to the great grandfather!)
I started to do this. I kiss her, I praise her. My kids started doing it too. With their wives, husbands and children. But the best of all is four generations speaking funny nonsense in the morning. Any of these mornings has more meaning in it than half of my life.
I don’t even know the name of this man. I don’t know where he lives, where he’s from, how he’s lived through the past eighty years, what he has been doing, or what he does today. He’s a great grandfather of Emma. He has a wife that, after more than fifty years of shared life with him, still misses her morning kiss.
This is enough for me to make my sky a tone or two bluer. To want to hug the whole world. And invite everyone on Earth for breakfast.