Thursday, March 13, 2008

What They Gave Me by Nannette Croce

Like so many I am all too ready to blame my parents for what I did or didn’t do in life. Growing up with an extended Italian family I can spread the blame around to aunts and uncles as well. But in recent years, as most of them have passed away or aged, I’m softening my view and seeing what I gained from each of those people who played such major role in my formative years.

My Mom gave me my quick wit, heightened sense of justice, and fashion sense.

My Dad, the Engineer, gave me my organizational skills, my logical approach to problem solving, and my slightly more tempered ambition.

My Aunt Jeannette, the intellectual of the family, gave me a love of history and also entrusted to me all the important family papers and journals, even though I was not the oldest, but knowing I would most appreciate them. Uncle Fred, the only non-Italian, taught me how the rest of the world lives and that with an open mind and a big heart, you will never be an outsider.

Aunt Thelma, with no children of her own, told wonderful stories and taught me not to forget my inner child, even when I had one of my own. While her artistic ability skipped my generation, she passed it to two grandnieces. Uncle Bill, the “gregarious one” taught me how to enjoy good wine and the society of friends and family, and, eventually, how to accept death with grace and dignity.

Yes, there were drawbacks growing up with so many people poking noses into my business, but as the years pass on, I realize it’s the benefits that maintained the strongest hold.


Kathryn Magendie said...

I used to think "Oh, I wish I were my mother's 'real' daughter" (I was adopted by my "stepmother"). Well, now I can see that I am her "real daughter" because so much of who she is, is who I sense of justice, my honesty, my work ethic. Many of the things she was hard on me about are the things I railed against as a teen, then cherish as an adult, especially when I see others acting in ways I think "oh, I'm so glad my mother taught me better!" *laugh*

Angie Ledbetter said...

Great perspective on what "sticks" and what we can shrug off when not needed. Thank you for sharing.

Barbara Quinn said...

It does get easier to deal with the difficult personalities as we age. Plus, the older I get the more I see how strange every single person is (not me, of course, hehe)and it's a good lesson in tolerance to deal with strong personalities. Oh, and lots of red wine helps a lot!

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