The Woman of His Dreams
In all of my life, I have never seen two people that were more in love with one another than my parents. They married when they were both sixteen years young. They remained childhood sweethearts all during their years of being together. They even showed hints of jealousy with one another as teenagers would - in blessed ways of romantic love- that stayed with them through 44 years of marriage.
My mother was exceptionally pretty. I often thought that her beauty was the fruit of bearing so many children. Somewhat like the glow from pregnancy hormones that radiate through an expectant mother’s face. (Or could her beauty have possibly come from the image that my father painted in the woman of his dreams?) She was pregnant most of her life. She had a child every year - 21 pregnancies in all (two miscarriages, one still born, and my sister’s twin brother who passed before he made it home from the hospital.)
And yet, with 17 children to look after, they still made time to express their love to one another. My father always commented about my mother’s beauty in front of us children, and he’d sit close by her side with one arm around her. While she would have one arm stretched out and lightly scratch or tickle his back. They never exploited any unusual behavior other than innocent petting. And because of this admiration of love that we saw; the girls frequently asked my dad, “which one of us looks more like mom?” And he would answer, “none were as beautiful!” He always explained the reason was that she never wore any make-up, or needed to primp up, and that she naturally glowed. While he didn’t 'approve' of make-up or flashy clothing that he felt some of us girls expressed. He openly articulated that she was clean and pure and her natural body scent was so fresh, and she didn’t need any perfumes, and not like the way we doused ourselves in fragrances. And he’d bring to our attention that we were too thin, while mom had a fuller figure, and that men usually preferred this body type. Our feelings never got hurt, but rather 'gleamed' over their expression of affection and childlike silliness, whenever we saw my mother’s face blush, when dad put his arm around her.
They had a full lifetime of romantic love – A phenomenal source of grace, indeed! My mother never knew another man. She often told us, “I can’t imagine even touching another man, other than dad!” And when dad was overseas for stretches at a time serving in World War II and the Korean War, he passionately ‘shown’ the exhilarated excitement of coming back home to his woman whom he loved! There was body chemistry between them that was never lost and shone ever since the first day that they met. They kept their forever-young, sweet, special, precious, love alive, all through their years of marriage!
The most beautiful expression of their love and affection took the highest priority over fame, fortune, or status quo. They never went out at night without the other. My dad was the talented creative artist and the king of the family, and he made it clear that mom was the queen and the smartest loving mother of children all over the world. Their love was certainly rare and so many children were the result.
When my mother suddenly died at 60 years of age, my father found it difficult to stand on his own. He spent the first couple of years looking for ways to fill her absence. One of those years stands out and sends chills up my spine when I think about it today. What I didn’t realize, back then in my twenties, until I was much closer to his age, (that it seems to me) what exactly he was trying to create(?)
He opened a hair salon shortly after mom passed; as several of us girls were hairdressers, (me for one.) While we worked, he busied himself looking for his lost love endlessly! Prior to mom passing, he never went out after dinner, but he started going out at night to the social clubs. He was quite familiar with - those that adorned his fine works of art and wall murals he previously created -those that reflected portraits echoing mom’s face and all of us children who still hung on the walls from years gone by. (It’s been said more times than none that his artwork shone the striking resemblance of those of his own family.)
One day, he met another beautiful woman at the social club and brought her to the hair salon to have a complete makeover. Underneath her heavy make-up and bouffant hair, there was an astonishing resemblance of my mother. He asked me to cut her hair and redo her make up to look like moms. The woman was only too happy to go along with him, and appreciated the service and all the attention of a makeover ( free of charge) from a professional. With my heart clenching to remain open- minded, I created a complete transformation. She had shone a beautiful sight to everyone, and was well pleased with the results.
However, sadly, the makeover was only ‘his’ way of showing me another way of the creative artist. What is more, the innocence of 'his' aching soul that was longing to fulfill his senses of the woman whom he loved and lost, just once more - to feel that he was still alive.
My father was a talented artist. He painted the creations that he lived in. He painted beautiful portraits of love, dance, and music - the sun, the moon, and the stars in the sky - suffering babies, children, mothers, fathers, and Jesus - and the magnificent creation that he painted for himself was the woman of his dreams - then he passed into her arms forevermore.
Causes Catherine Nagle Supports
Westwind Foster Family Agency, Christian Children's Fund, Compassion International, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Invisible Children, Save the Children