Kith and Kin

This past 40 years have been a wonderful run. The 60 before that wasn’t so bad either, but things really took off back in 2018.

I’ve had a lot of difficult life experiences; but for the past 40 years, I have never allowed difficult experiences to interfere with my being fulfilled by all aspects of my life.

My biggest joy is and always has been my family. My husband, my son, my grandchildren and all their loved ones. The circle keeps expanding. Neighbors, students, co-workers, cousins, volunteers, exes (mine and everyone else’s) bosses, nieces & nephews, teachers, friends… My family is connected by something (Love? Respect? Magic?) that makes our bounds much stronger than that of blood. The details changed from year to year, but joy remained.

The early years of my 60s were very focused on my health. I was in decent health, but noticing my aging more and more, which didn’t augur well for a long-term plan. My watchwords became “fit and flexible.”

On our 5th anniversary, I surprised Robert with me wearing my wedding corset. It was a great success, especially when he had to tighten the laces to keep it from sliding off. By our 6th anniversary, my wardrobe shrunk (pun intended) as all my clothes had been exchanged for much smaller sizes.

Since then, I’ve maintained a healthy weight, between 135 and 148 pounds.; my bone density has never worried my physicians, my shoulders sit straight, and I can still (slowly) reach to touch my toes. I credit my beloved granddaughter Myra with keeping me on track in the early years of my health renaissance, and her help these late years has been as invaluable as I’ve necessarily had to slow down my activities.

Myra is now only slightly older than I was when she was born and she in turn is experiencing the joys of grandparenthood herself. Making room in our lives to give Myra a home is something that neither Robert nor I have ever regretted. Perhaps she would have excelled without our influence, but having her so close in our lives brought us so much joy.

Robert and I don’t venture as far as we used to, but our home for the past 40 years remains as our haven, where we welcome all those we met on our travels, and welcome back the students and young people who spent time with us from across the world. This started with the exchange students who lived with us in the 2020s, and expanded reconnecting with them, their friends and families.

We remain connected to friends from Germany, Japan, South Africa, Spain, Iceland, Italy, England, Brazil, Ecuador, Denmark and so many other places. Friends and loved ones we have hosted, and who have been our hosts over the years.

Looking back, what I now view as my proudest accomplishments, at the time seemed so minor. Contributing to Robert’s passions, even though I didn’t share them, made being a human clamp in the garage a fulfilling way to spend my time.

Learning to be an effective and efficient part of his race crew, or fishing in the winter at Lower Granite Dam, were never on my bucket list, except that by doing those things, I brought love and light to my beloved’s life.

How could I not gladly contribute so little for such a huge effect?

In the end, my joy counts for nothing if it doesn’t serve the joy of those I love. Some of us are late bloomers, I saw that in my son Jared, knowing that he would find his place in the world one day, and his happiness along with it.

I don’t know why Some of us are late bloomers, I saw that in my son Jared, knowing that he would find his place in the world one day, and his happiness along with it.

I don’t know why I couldn’t also see that for myself, but bloom I finally did.

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