This I Believe

Jamie - Hamilton, Indiana
Entered on April 5, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: love
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in public displays of affection.

I’m not talking about the get-a-room type of PDAs. I’m talking about the impromptu hugs; the spontaneous “I love yous”; the quick kisses given just because the mood strikes.

If life has taught me anything, it’s that I may not get a second chance to show someone how I feel. I would give anything to be able to wrap my arms around my father one more time and not care who was watching, who thought it was weird or that I might doing it in an inappropriate place or at an inappropriate time.

I love my husband. Why should I feel funny about kissing him if strangers are watching? Sometimes I’m just overcome with emotion … with the idea that this wonderful man loves me so much that he agreed to stay with me forever. That emotion doesn’t always happen in the privacy of our own home. If something were to happen to one of us tomorrow, I would want him to know that I adored him.

What if I waited until the time was “acceptable” and I never got to show him?

My 16-year-old daughter will be gone away to college in two years. You can bet I’m getting in all the hugs I can now, and if we’re in the middle of the mall, so be it. While she’s physically here and close to me, I want to touch her at every opportunity.

When she’s sitting in her dorm room alone some night; when she’s blue and even a roll of cookie dough can’t get her out of her funk, maybe the memory of her mom hugging her out of the blue while they were waiting for a table at Applebee’s will make her feel better.

My son is 5. Right now, I ask him for kisses, and he puckers up like a fish and plants one on me, no questions asked, regardless of time or place. He would do it in the middle of Grand Central Station and not give it a second thought.

Right now.

I realize I’m on borrowed time with those kisses. So when I think of it, I’m going to ask for one. I don’t care if we’re in the checkout line at Target. I don’t care if we’re in the waiting room at the dentist’s office. While these wonderful, sweet kisses are a sure thing, I’m getting them.

Because in a year or two, he’ll be too embarrassed to give them to me if we’re not alone.

Time marches on. And when we look back … my husband, my children and I … I want us to be able to say, “We loved each other. And we showed it.”

I don’t want there to be any doubt in the minds of these three people who I value above all else in the world that they are my everything. When I am gone, I want them to have a fresh memory of what it felt like when my lips touched their foreheads. I’d want them to be able to remember vividly what my perfume smelled like when I enveloped them in my arms.

So when the sheer joy of having them in my life overtakes me, I am going to let it flow. Sometimes, that’s going to be in the form of a public display of affection.

I’ll kiss them when I want to. If you don’t like it, don’t look. But I won’t have any regrets.