Meet Phyllis…

I have spent a lot of time with family on this leg of the trip. Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington and Minnesota were all speckled with visits and catching up. I am blessed with a colorful heritage that I was born into and family that I married into. Seeing them all within a few months time has been enriching and eye-opening. My roots shape who I am, like it or not.

Phyllis, my mother-in-law

Phyllis, my mother-in-law

One of these visits was with my mother-in-law, Phyllis. She has taught me so much about exercise, staying fit, and having a positive attitude. She sings “alive, alert, awake, enthusiastic” in the morning and talks about her “growing edge” of the moment. Our growing edges seem to be coinciding perfectly right now. She, too, is following her intuition, and even asks her gut what clothes she should wear each day. She lost her husband a few years ago and chose to move into a retirement home early at 89 while she is completely fit and able, so as to never be a burden on her kids. She decided when to stop driving rather than have someone take the keys away. She is in control of her life. She plays games, does puzzles and helps friends. She walked over a mile with me and kept up in the hills, she takes the stairs instead of elevators, I want to be like her.

Some strange bird we saw on one of our walks

Some strange bird we saw on one of our walks

I am so grateful that she still loves me. Now that I have divorced her son it is a complicated thing negotiating my friendships with his side of the family. We spent 30 years together as relatives and friends, so losing them all was a grieving part of the divorce. What do I even call them, my “ex” in-laws? Can I still call my sister-in-law my sister-in-law when really she is no longer my sister-in-law? What are the official rules and titles?

Reno, Nevada

Reno, Nevada

Thankfully we have never been concerned with what normal people do, so I am happy to report that they all still call me an in-law even though I am “out” of the family and for that I am extremely grateful.

Phyllis told me, “I hope you’ve given up those mistakes from the past and have moved on. You are a new person, don’t live with all the mistakes.” It was a gift, I am totally accepted by her even though I divorced her son. I love and miss her.

Look around me
I can see my life before me
Running rings around the way it used to be
I am older now
I have more than what I wanted
But I wish that I had started long before I did
And there’s so much time to make up everywhere you turn
Time we have wasted on the way
So much water moving underneath the bridge
So much love to make up everywhere you turn
Love we have wasted on the way
Let the water come and carry us away
(Crosby, Stills and Nash- Wasted on the Way)

Listen at…


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