The other day, I walked over to see the dentist (what shiny, white teeth he has) to discuss prioritizing the dental and periodontal issues I have to suffer through and pay for. Given that my problems are largely hereditary, there was no better place to go afterwards than to see my parents; not to wrack them with guilt about their painful and costly legacy (your teeth are the worst problem you will ever have, knock wood), but to discuss my options over chopped egg, lox and cream cheese (no bagels, they’re dieting).

My mother, whose mouth is worth more than a two-bedroom condo, gave me excellent advice, an article from the Canadian Jewish News (Dreams of Peace in the Middle East), and offered me a lift home after lunch. My snowbird parents just returned to Montreal after spending the winter in Miami and I’m feeling particularly enamoured, so in the spirit of precious time together, I did something I haven’t done since I was a little girl: I barged into the bathroom as my Mom was putting on her face (ok, I knocked first but allow me to embellish my own blog).

After a few minutes of priceless make-up tips (a plea for me to wear more and let my true beauty shine), gazing at the woman whose arms will always feel like home, it hit me that my beautiful, ageless 73 year-old Mom is getting older (gracefully, mind you, but still). I also struck me that I have never heard her worry about it or complain. Never. I know people up to 50 years younger who are consumed with the wear and tear of life on their faces. Not my Mom, who has earned every wrinkle, and whose silky, perfumed cheeks (Obsession by Calvin Klein) I never tire of kissing. In this day and age, the insight reads like a miracle, so I asked her, what’s your secret? Puzzled by my intensity, she put down her (no-name) lip-liner, turned to me, and said, I don’t know, maybe it’s because your father loves me.

When I woke up this morning I called my (80 year-old) Dad. I asked him what he sees when he looks at my Mom. He said, I see my wife. I said, yeah, but she’s getting older, she’s aging, or haven’t you noticed? He said, when I look at your mother, I see the woman I’ve loved for fifty years. The end.

Ah, but that is not the end of the story, Mom, Dad. Love, once planted, grows. My husband is more beautiful to me every day. And, I’ll wager, bad teeth or not, that he feels the same way about me.

Everlasting love: Micki & Norm Keesal 

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