"Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can; all of them make me laugh" ~ W. H. Auden

A few days ago I went to visit my ex-mother-in-law, along with my daughter Cammy (her granddaughter) who was in town for the weekend. I usually visit Cammy’s grandmother three or four times a year for various reasons. I have known her for thirty-one years and have been divorced from her son for twenty-five of them.

We haven’t always been close; there were years when our relationship was strained and we didn’t speak at all. Many factors, including proximity and issues surrounding my divorce to her son, contributed to the lapses. We both suffered a lot of hurt and tragedy over the years from my ex-husband who has since passed on. Though our relationship may have been distant from time to time, I always nurtured and encouraged her relationship with my daughter. I have healed and moved on with my life - she has not. She is merely a shell of the woman she used to be…but she hasn’t lost all of her spunk.

This is a woman who was known for her outrageous personality; loud, funny, showy, attention seeking, and brutally honest. One never knew what would come flying out of her mouth or when it would happen. Through the years I’ve been embarrassed, insulted, and lambasted by her, but I have also laughed until I thought my sides would split open. There were just as many times that she loved, doted on, respected, and praised me. With maturity I have learned to overlook her guileless comments and look to the truly kind woman that lies beneath.

It is a good thing that I understand where she is coming from and that I have a sense of humor about myself, otherwise I would have been furious over what she said to me the other day. She was trying to be funny, but her comment didn’t land quite the way I believe she intended it to.

Over the past six months I have been experiencing some weight gain. I know it’s related to hormones…I am at that age. But having always had a thin and shapely body that was easy to maintain, I am not accepting this change very well. I don’t mean to insinuate that I am largely overweight; I just feel like I woke up in the wrong body and can’t seem to find my way back.

So, my daughter and I walked into her grandmother’s apartment the other day, and the first thing she blurted out upon seeing me was, “You’ve gained weight!”

I laughed…she wasn’t telling me something I didn’t know, though I was secretly hoping it wasn’t that noticeable. I explained what was going on with me, and then the topic moved on and the focus was redirected. Despite the seemingly insulting greeting, she was clearly happy to see us, interested in what I had to say, and she praised me many times.

Cammy and I stayed for a little over an hour, and then hugged, kissed, and said our goodbyes. As we were about to walk out the door to leave, my ex-mother-in-law suddenly revisited her opening sentiment and shouted, “Goodbye Fatso!” Once again I started laughing, considering the source. Then Cammy and I left.

My daughter was appalled after hearing what her grandmother said to me. Once we were alone and out in the hallway, she looked at me dumb-struck. “That was so mean! I can’t believe she just said that to you!” she proclaimed. “Her comment didn’t bother me…it was just Grandma being Grandma. She was just trying to be funny… she didn’t mean to hurt my feelings,” I responded,undaunted.

The next morning I received a follow-up telephone call regarding our visit. She wanted to tell me how much she enjoyed our visit and how great it was to see us. She never made reference to the “Fatso” comment, but she did make a point of telling me how beautiful she thoughtI looked, and told me not to lose a pound. I knew she spoke with sincerity…the art of lying is definitely not her forte.

It wouldn’t have mattered to me if she had called the next day or not; I know who I am…and I know her heart.

The scenario was truly hilarious… I laugh every time I replay it in my head. I have added it to the list of the outrageous antics that I’ve witnessed from her over the years, and I am grateful to have those colorful,comical memories to recall.

Humor may present itself in the oddest ways. We have to learn to laugh at ourselves, and we have to learn to laugh at life.

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For a more in depth study of the characters in this article, please read my memoir, Fine…ly: My Story of Hope, Love, and Destiny, available as a paperback or e-book through Amazon.com http://tinyurl.com/4479qrt

Author's Bio: 

Randi Fine is a native of Baltimore, Maryland who has been living in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida since 2005. She has two adult children: a beautiful daughter and a handsome son, and she has been married to a wonderful man for 22 years.

Her lifetime thirst for artistic, creative expression led her in 2008 to the challenge of writing her memoir, Fine…ly: My Story of Hope, Love, and Destiny. During the two year process of navigating through the unfamiliar waters of authorship, she discovered for the first time that she truly had a passion for writing. She now devotes herself to writing full-time from her home. By sharing her wealth of experiences, insights, and lessons, she aspires to offer hope, compassion, and understanding to those who searching for answers.

Love Your Life, is a journal that she writes to connect with others who share in her mission of spreading light, love, and healing to the world. Her blog talk-radio show is called, A Fine Time for Healing: A Sanctuary for Your Emotional Wellbeing. She discuss self-help and spiritual life-skill topics that will heal and enhance the life experiences of others. http://my.blogtalkradio.com/randi-fine

She is a deeply spiritual person, following an enlightened path of her own design. It is a connection that she faithfully trusts to guide her in every aspect of her life.