We were so young when we met. My God, were we ever that young? The first time I met her she came to my house with my brother. Dressed classy, wearing a very wide brim hat, my brother introduced her as his date. I laugh when I think of this, because I know her very well know. She has this one look where she puts her head up in the air, as if daring fate to come get her. At first I thought she was a snob. I suppose that is why I laugh when I think of that face.
A disastrous marriage to my only brother, two sons that have brought so much joy to my life. A friendship that has spanned over broken relationships, deaths, 30 years. She was more than my sister-in-law, she was my friend through so much. The laughter, the tears, the fears. We have helped each other walk through some very painful parts of life. And more important than that, we have LAUGHED our way through it. Things that you never thought you could joke about, become humorous with someone who knows you like a book.
As years came to be, and she shared of her childhood, struggles, I grew to respect her more each passing year. It isn’t easy for someone who has been walked over, to stand up and fight back. But she has. Stereotypic essential relationships that should have gifted her with confidence, esteem, and overall sense of self respect delivered exact opposite, or was meant to. I witnessed things over the years that made me so sad for her. But also, made me love her all the more.
After the divorce, and a bitchy evil “step mother” stepping into the scenario, I was summoned more than once to cease my relationship with her, after all, we were no longer related! But that only served to set my heels in deeper. Why would I sever a relationship that was essential to me? Why would I sever a relationship based on lies that were being told about her? More than once, more than a handful, I got into shouting matches with my family. I was the bad one, for keeping up the relationship. Shaking my head. Yet it was this woman who stayed up with me ALL night, for months on end, playing Literati, helping me walk through some of the hardest times of my life. No, I guess we were no longer related, but we were friends. I know we will always be friends.
I have seen her shape from a broken uncertain soul, into an amazing woman. Now a grandmother, she and her husband took a plunge and moved across country. I encouraged her. It was time. Always a mother, she would still be available as she was when near, and this day and age of technology, a phone call can now be face to face, expressions inclusive. But it was time for them to do for themselves. I don’t think it was an easy decision, given the level of family commitment they have, but it was a good decision, for all.
I’ve watched my nephews mature. They are GOOD human beings. I’m proud of them. Was she a perfect mother? Why YES ( 🙂 )…. who EVER is perfect? It’s impossible. We are designed to be perfectly imperfect, she, no exception. For whatever she would do differently today, she taught her children to NEVER GIVE UP. It is okay to take a couple day sabbatical, but then? Then you get up, and you start over. Defy the powerful forces that had great potential to tear flesh, break your spirit. Put your head up high, and walk however you must towards self love, acceptance, success. Stick that nose up in the air if it helps you walk through fire, whatever it takes! This is why I smiled at the beginning of the blog. That snobbish look she can give, I know what’s behind it.
She has walked through fire. She has taken my hand and walked with me, through fire. I am in awe of her strength, and the person she has become. I’m proud of her and what she has done with her life. She is courageous, intelligent TO A FAULT. I don’t care if her last name has changed, or where she is in the world, she will ALWAYS be my sister-in-law, and she will ALWAYS be the mother of two beautiful souls that I love dearly. I am grateful for her existence in my life.
As typical, I sit here with a sign from above. I am laughing, because I smell birthday candles. I have actually gotten up and looked around my house to make sure there is no flame anywhere. I bet you I know who is sending you birthday wishes from the other side! The same person you drove 3-4 hours in bad weather to say goodbye, who adored your boys, too. Or maybe? It’s the person who I know loved you deeply. The woman who I know you loved dearly. I know when she died you were broken, felt like the truest form of love you had ever experienced had all been lost. But it wasn’t! You passed on what she taught you to your boys, and I know will, your grandchildren. She exists in you, and no doubt, is very proud of you.
Thank you for all your love, support, friendship, hours spent listening to me. Thank you for loving my art, for caring about my family in spite of all the difficulties in the past. Thank you for sharing some of the BEST belly laughs I’ve ever had. I am grateful for your existence in my life. I am grateful for you.
On this day I want to wish you a very happy birthday. You deserve the best. You have fought your way through much, and you are still standing, as beautiful as ever, with the best looking legs I have ever seen on a real person! Have an awesome day! I love you, and I look forward to many more years with you and our “boys”.