I have two older sisters … “Mimi” is a decade older; “Jojo” is five years older. Both were out of the house when I was pretty young, and both married their first (and only) boyfriends. Mimi’s husband has been part of the family since I was six. They’re still married and have settled into one of those marriages where they are virtually conjoined emotionally and spiritually, and they display a lot of the characteristics of old married couples. They talk over each other, they ignore each other, they natter at each other. But they’re together and they will be til death doth them part.
Jojo married young – a week out of high school at age 18. Her marriage lasted decades – until about 3 years ago. They grew apart and there came a day when she just realized that she didn’t want that relationship to define her life. There were fundamental differences that had been there all along, but when you’re struggling to pay the bills and raise a family, you overlook that stuff and just keep your head down and focus. There was a lot of drama – unrelated to their relationship – around the time when they split up, and I honestly didn’t think they would stay apart. That winter they split up I pictured both of the, alone on those cold, dark, long winter nights on the prairies, and I worried – about their financial status, their emotional state of mind, their physical well-being. Part of the time I prayed that they would get back together. Other times I prayed that they would both find their way to wherever they are meant to be.
At this point, let me just say that I’m a lousy daughter, sister, and friend. I am the worst at phoning people. When I used to have a long commute I would make phone calls while sitting in traffic (thank God for Bluetooth speaker phones), but now I drive for all of 9 minutes. I tend to leave my phone in my purse, so that means I’m not always there when people need me, and I tend to miss out on a lot of the day-to-day little things, but that’s the stuff that weaves the fabric of life. So while I was living my insulated little life here in Georgia, my sister and her husband were moving on.
Last night I called my sister (well, I returned her call from 10-days ago – I know – horrible). She had also sent me a text saying she had ‘met someone pretty special’. (At this point the 13-year old in me thought, ewww … ) So I did my workout, ate dinner and finally called. She talked a bit about work, and about the grandkids, then I finally said, “so, you’ve met someone?”. They’ve been going on dates for about 2 months. He’s wonderful, he’s smart, they have so much in common. He’s had an interesting career, he’s involved in different hobbies. They share the same interests. And, “he’s so good looking!” They go out to cool restaurants, drive around the city, share mundane Saturday afternoons running errands and she finds it all fascinating. I think she may actually be in a relationship. Wow. First – I am beyond completely thrilled for her, but then part of me is also worried about my brother-in-law. I don’t know if he can take care of himself. Seriously – she is far better prepared to handle life than he is, and she has a much better support system. So I finally ask her, “does he know about this?”. “Oh yeah,” she responds, “he’s been seeing someone for months.” Hot damn … they’ve both moved on and I missed all of it!
Later in the evening, I told my G about the new development and his immediate concern was that this guy may hurt Jojo. But I know she’s perfectly capable of handling this. She’s not a teenager, but listening to her on the phone last night you would think she is. There was a level of excitement, interest and optimism there that I haven’t heard in years. She’s doing new things, connecting with a man as her authentic grown-up self, and she feels like she has found someone who may be a good fit, at least for more lunches and movies. And … he’s good looking 😉
We’re never too old to try something new, to learn a new skill, or to take a chance on finding joy. If this works out for her (and I hope it does), she’ll have a whole new lifetime of experiences to look forward to. How wonderful is that?