By: Shannon Ralph
Ruanita kisses me goodbye every morning before I go to work. She doesn’t kiss me in the bedroom. She doesn’t kiss me in the kitchen. Nor the bathroom. Nor the kids’ bedrooms. In order for our goodbye kiss to “count,” she must kiss me at the front door. With the door open. For the entire world—or at least all of Columbus Avenue—to see.
I can’t quite recall when this practice began, but it seems like she has always done it. She meets me at the front door every morning without fail as I am leaving for work. It does not matter if she is up to her elbows in school lunch preparation. It doesn’t matter if she is brushing her teeth. Or begging Lucas to please get dressed. Or wrestling with Sophie over combing her hair. It doesn’t matter. She kisses me goodbye every morning. At the front door. She’ll usually say “I love you” or “I’ll miss you today” or something equally endearing. I leave my house every morning feeling special and appreciated and loved.
To save her time and trouble, I have attempted to kiss her in the kitchen as she poured apple juice and opened Pop Tart packages. I have attempted to kiss her in the bathroom as she had one hand prying Sophie’s stubborn mouth open and the other attempting to insert a toothbrush into the tiny resulting hole. I have attempted to kiss her as she’s begging the muddy dog to please for the love of God come back inside. But she will have no part of these illegitimate goodbye kisses. She will wave off my affections and tell me to meet her at the door. There, and only there, will she kiss me goodbye.
There have been times throughout the years when we have refused to kiss. There have been instances when I was so irate that I yelled “goodbye!” and stalked out the front door without ever looking back. There have been mornings when I stood patiently at the door awaiting my kiss only to be disappointed because Ruanita was still harboring resentment over the fight we had the night before. These days are few and far between, but when I manage to leave the house without my morning goodbye kiss, nothing goes right. The day is somehow “off” from the start. I am late. I can’t think straight. I can’t form a coherent sentence. I am preoccupied with the lack of a goodbye kiss. And nothing will set the day straight again until I get my kiss at the front door. Only when I get my kiss will the stars align and the universe smile on the world once again.
The morning goodbye kiss is one more way that my marriage is just like your marriage.