My 83 year old mother-in-law, as previously noted is dating an 86 year old. They have both lost their life partners within the last three years and seem to be having the time of their lives (what's left of them, with all due respect) What is so incredible is how other family members are responding. How do you tell someone who has lived eight decades not to do anything rash? Slow down for what? Yet Katie and I hear only concern from her sisters; they do not see what we see. The real issue here is that each of us has to make peace with our parents while we can. What these two are holding on to is their alienation from who their mother really is and who she has become. They are holding on to all that went wrong with their maternal relationships to date and don't seem to be able to let it go. As we age, we have an unusual opportunity to relate to our parents as completely different people. The brief time I spent with my own parents as adult to adult helps me to know who they really were. The time for them to be the vulnerable, indecisive, impatient one can be very powerful if not revealing. My sisters-in-law cannot seem to get their heads around the fact that their mom is not the person they knew any longer. Sure she is as controlling, as unpredictable, as manipulative as ever, but she is also a woman who has a final chance to live a new adventure. Fascinating how they project their own shortcomings onto her. They cling to their ancient perceptions of her weaknesses, never mindful that before too long, in other ways, they too will exhibit similar traits. If the term dysfunctional family is an oxymoron, when will they realize she's the only mom they've got?
So I call him Mr. Ed, because It's endearing, it connotes a horse, (I adore horses) it's his name, and he's been around awhile. I hope at 86 I will be as quick witted, as physically fit, (he plays tennis daily) as open -minded, a financially independent, and as eager, should the necessity arise, to spend time with a new woman.