A soft swishing of the water bed and a gentle touching of feet upon the old Oriental rug sent muted messages of my wife's awakening. Intently peering through squinted eyes, I watched as Denise made her way out of the bedroom, turned, grasped the doorknob, and in deference to my purported sleep, lightly closed the door.
Quietly, I arose and crept down the hallway behind her. Concealed from her view by a huge antique chest of drawers, I viewed an ordinary event that took on extraordinary proportions, which would change my perception of love.
Denise began performing the morning's rituals with the dexterity of a juggling mime. With one hand she dropped Pop Tarts into an old toaster and poured milk for our daughter Brittney with the other. She then placed English muffins in the toaster oven, precisely timing them to a golden brown, and fried eggs and bacon as she prepared my hot drink.
Soon she was conducting a kitchen symphony composed of percolating, baking, and frying as she mixed dog food for two eager canines who vied with our black cat for her attention.
Her list of chores completed, she turned toward the hallway, preparing to awaken the household. Quickly, on tiptoes, I scurried to the bedroom, jumped into bed, and pulled up the multicolored quilt, draping it over my head. I feigned deep sleep.
Denise entered the room, gently pulled the coverlet from my face, and kissed me.
Yes, that morning I awoke and learned from this woman - a wife, a mother, and a friend - that the words "I love you" had a new and honored meaning. In that morning's dawn, in secret with a chest of drawers, I awoke to the music of my wife's love and devotion to her family.
Seven days a week she begins her day with a light shuffling of feet down the hallway of our lives. Along the way, a gentle nudging, a light caress, a hearing ear, and a peck of care upon the cheek brings forth endless bounties for us all.