Saturday, April 09, 2016
a person or
thing serving as a
or excellent model
Tonight I am reflecting back on the love I witnessed growing up with my perspective, colored by age and life experience.
My parents. My exemplars.
Each was a beautiful soul. They cared so deeply about one another, and about family. Family gatherings...weddings, funerals, religious celebrations, birthdays, holidays...were BIG events. It seemed we were always celebrating something, and the only friends I had for a long time, were ones who were related to me. I'm sure my cousins might have had this same feeling! My roots are Italian and Polish, with some of my greats having come directly over from the mother countries. Although Italian and Polish were spoken by a few of the elders, sadly I did not pick up any of either language. Great aunts and uncles, regular aunts and uncles, first, second, and third cousins and their spouses attended the weddings and funerals. It seemed someone was always getting married or dying.
I literally grew up thinking I was related to everyone who lived in my community until I went to fifth grade. The summer before I entered the fifth grade, my parents moved to a new community. The funny thing was, many of our friends and family from my first community moved as well, joining my new community.
Beyond family, my parents knew everyone and everyone knew them.
It was common knowledge that if a neighbor needed ANYTHING, they could count on my parents. Thinking about this now, I'm sure the feeling was reciprocated. My dad was an Electrical Engineer by trade and my mom was an office manager for a doctor's office, but within our community dad was a volunteer fireman and mom was a certified Emergency Medical Technician volunteer. They were always "on call", and helped whenever needed. I vividly remember emergencies in the middle of the night where both my parents responded, along with all the other volunteer emergency crew. On top of volunteering, both my parents were involved with my brother and I as were were growing up. Mom did typical mom stuff: organized summer camps, was a volunteer in my school, served on the PTA, AND had a Ceramic business out of our basement. As my brother and I aged, both our parents involvement changed as well. Our parents were chaperones on band trips, and dad even had a chauffeur's license so he could drive the school bus for those trips. I had the coolest parents.
Visible to others was a couple who truly were a super couple.
As a child, I witnessed the backside of an amazing love.
I never noticed if my brother and I lacked material goods. However, I do recall that once a month, dad would balance the checkbook. This was code for my brother and I to disappear into our rooms. We were neither seen, nor heard during the balancing of the checkbook. Dad was generally an even tempered person. Mom was a spender. I guess mom just knew things would be okay. Dad didn't always agree and when this happened, his even temper became off kilter. They would argue, but in the end they would assure my brother and I that they loved each other. And they did. My parents were not perfect, and they knew that about themselves and one another. They were willing to overlook imperfections and love with their whole heart anyway. They laughed together, played together, helped the community together, and loved their family together.
An Aunt recently sent me the above photograph. As I looked at it, my eyes teared up. I miss them both so much. I hope, and I think their spirit lives within my heart. I know I longed to be a part of a super couple, but I also know that because of my parents, there isn't anything I can't do all by myself. Part of my journey now is to learn to forgive myself for not living up to that exemplar I knew. They were just one example.
In today's society extended families have drifted apart and with these drifts core values have become diluted. I feel we live in a society that no longer promotes super couples. I think we encourage too many selfish behaviors and not enough behaviors of taking care of one another. Our older generations still get it, but souls my age seem more selfish, and our youth...I am worried for them. Maybe I have become a skeptic. Maybe, as I continue to age, I'll see the cycle repeat and super couples will again be a thing. Time will tell.
Regardless, with my friends I will continue to laugh, play, help my community, and love my family. In my own way I will be a reflection of the exemplar above, and hopefully encourage others along the way. Thank you friends, for loving me on this journey.
ponderer of emotions
Tonight's blogging music...
from Adele's 25, Remedy, Sweetest Devotion;
from Ed Sheehan's X, One, Tenerife Sea, Thinking Out Loud, Shirtsleeves;
From Ed Sheehan's 5, Be Like You, Let It Out, Where We Land;
from Ed Sheehan's +, Kiss Me, Give Me Love;
from Dean Martin, You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You, Sway.