Mama stirs the oatmeal on the stove. We kids sit around the breakfast table and wait. The tie drawer in the living room creaks. Dad always wore brown suits; every morning he opens the drawer full of brown ties and tries to match them up with what he has on. “Miriam! Will you help me, Dearie?” We watch as Mama wipes her hands on her apron. She leans into the little mirror propped over the stove and finger-combs her hair back behind her ears. She smooths her lipstick out and lowers the heat under the oatmeal. She walks down the hallway into the living room.
I slip off my chair, wait a second, and follow. I hide behind an armchair as Dad clips a tie onto his starched white collar. I watch as he takes a step closer to Mama. “Does it match, Dearie? What do you think? Hmmm?” I see her look up and pull on his collar a bit to adjust the tie. I hold my breath as Dad leans toward her. Then, suddenly, he plants a big kiss right on her lips and squeezes her in a bear hug. I grin as they laugh. Then I tiptoe back to the kitchen as Dad closes the drawer and leaves for the office. Mama comes back to the stove and turns up the heat.
I don’t recall if they noticed I was watching. All I remember is that the grin that got started early in the morning stayed with me all day. Even now, I’m grinning as I write.