They just don't. Dad is... he's, well, he's everything. I wish I could be like him, just a little. Mom too.
I don't know how they do it, how they keep on going. I don't understand how they know, how they are so confident. I want to do and not regret; to regret, be forgiven and put it behind me; to love, teach, lose my temper, and repent to and with my children. I want Mom's drive, Dad's knowledge.
I want to just look at them. I want to see, no, behold them. I want behold them looking at each other. I want to behold them in suit and gown. I want to see Dad in ripped, ragged, oil-stained Carhart's, stinking of diesel with wood curls in his hair and beard. I want to see mom with flour covering her grape-juice stained blouse, or on her hands and knees in a freshly plowed garden. I want to see them walking through the woods hand in hand. I want to see Mom in church, hear her weeping during a hymn. I want to see Mommy nodding during devotions as Daddy's mouth mirthfully twitches.
I want to see them when things aren't nice. I see again Daddy gently holding a dead rabbit, shaking with rage. I want to watch Mommy standing in a cemetery, her arms wrapped around her, looking at a red, heart-shaped, stone. I want to see Daddy stand beside her and watch them clasp each other close. I want to see Mom tired and black with frustration, angry at the exasperating undone chores. I want to watch Daddy, lying prostrate with the wracking pain of kidney stones, yet sealing in the groans. I want to watch him open his arms to a hurt wife, tense with resentment, and enclose her stiff form in a gentle embrace. I want to watch her force her angry arms to embrace him too and see the tense hurt relax and fall away as she melts into him. I want to see him massage her aching shoulders and watch her massage his aching feet. I want to watch them bandaging a burned child, see the hurt in their eyes preceding the spanking that touched me far less.
I want to see Dad balancing on a homemade ladder, far above the ground, and hear mom gasping in terror yet passing him tools as he calls for them. I want to see Daddy sneaking up to the house with a bouquet behind his back - for all the world like a sheepish five year old with dandilions. I want to watch Mom make Daddy's favorite cake.
It's not that I enjoy the sinfulness of my parents. I don't. But for all their sinfulness, I wouldn't have missed seeing the their repentance and forgiveness for each other and for me. They've shown me how to live. They've shown me love by living - living in front of me. I've seen them argue. I've seen them kiss. I've seen them cry together. I've seen them play. I've seen them work.They can work; my, can my parents work! I've seen the mud, the sweat, the mussed hair, the exhaustion, heard the laughter. I've watched them do things they didn't want to do but did anyway. I've gazed wide-eyed at the sacrifices.
No longer do I see them. I am far away. Yet these pictures in my mind are closer to my soul than any dead, still words in a book. I miss them. Yes, I long to be like them. I long to dance the earthy dance they dance in unashamedly earthy garments. But I would gladly give that all up to just watch them: to watch them for the rest of my life, understanding, pondering, and marveling in hushed awe at what I see.
They just don't make them like Daddy anymore. Mommy neither.
This is why girls burst into tears when their fathers send them brilliant email criticisms of their work - it's awe, love, and something akin to reverence.