A quick story from earlier this Summer:
Katy is riding in our car with her madre. I had temporarily misplaced my ID a few days earlier so I was using my passport as backup identification for a while. It happened to be out next to her seat, so she opens it and looks inside.
“Katy, quien es?”
Katy looks at her mom quizzically (or so I’m told) and calmly replies. “That’s Kenneth, mom. You know that, like duh.”
Ok maybe I made up ‘like duh.” Anyway…
Her mother scrunches her face up and says:
Katy looks at the picture and realizes the problem. She laughs. “Si mommy, es Kenneth.”
“Oh. Yo supuesto gente pueden cambiar. Hmm”
Now, my mother-in-law was never really keen on me and Katy’s pairing prior to this realization. She had many good reasons, considering the life I was living for the many years leading up to us finally getting together. Most, if not all, of those old ways have since fell off and it’s obvious that Katy and I work really well as a couple. But it’s hard to erase the memory of your oldest child struggling and suffering through an on again/off again relationship with a ‘gringo negro’ you don’t even know.
But after that day in the car she’s been as kind to me as she’s ever been. It’s like a switch flipped in her mind by seeing the physical changes in my body — now she can see the other changes that have been made elsewhere in my life. The guy in that picture lacked a certain amount discipline, self-care, and focus. Very necessary things to lose weight, grow spiritually, heal emotionally, and (most importantly to her) be good to a beautiful and precious and selflessly giving woman.
Sometimes we have to change everything to get from point A to point B. We have to pack our stuff and move to a brand new state. We have to put away old hobbies and pick up new ones. We have to eat new foods. We have to cut some friends off altogether, and hold closer to the ones that really matter. We have to slowly create a life that looks nothing like the old one, so that one day we can look in the mirror and say: “Wow. Look at this.”
What better validation can one receive than that from a previously skeptical suegra? Yup, I’ll take it.
May you and I and everyone we know design unrecognizable lives, over and over, throughout this brief lifetime of ours.