From the time I was a little girl, I always remember my Mom and Dad stressing the social etiquette of “how to be a lady” with me. For the longest time I thought that “Emily Post” must be a neighbor I hadn’t yet met, as my Mom was always quoting this person!! For my whole life, my Dad always said, “ladies don’t chew gum”!! To this day, I can’t even put a piece of gum in my mouth without having the urge to spit it out after approximately 5 minutes. For me it’s more of an exercise of cleansing the palate.
But more importantly, my Mom stressed what was important as an “Italian woman”. She brought us up in the traditional Italian fashion of devotion to family and others. My whole life was spent cooking with her, as well as cleaning and decorating the house for every holiday. I remember that I used to rush home from grade school to inquire about dinner, and ask if I could cook it myself? My Mom thought this was the greatest “gig” in the world, as she could finally sit down and relax while I made dinner every night! But to me it was so much fun being in the kitchen creating meals. As I grew older, I moved away from her basic recipes to more creative twists to entice my families’ palate. But some of my fondest memories are our traditional day of baking the Christmas cookies together. Those were always fun days of creativity! We always made our traditional holiday favorites. We started very early in the morning and baked until dinnertime, and sometimes picked it back up at night! Flour, ingredients and equipment were everywhere in her tiny kitchen, and as the day progressed the baked assortment was spread out on the dining room table. On one such day, my brother Peter decided to take a new date home to meet my Mom and I. The kitchen was a straight vision line through the living room to the front door. To our shock, in they walked without warning – Mom in her “housecoat” and me in an oversized football shirt, without our hair done and flour down the front of us!! To this day, my sister-in-law Tina says she knew in that moment how alike my family was to hers, and that she knew she was going to like us!
But my biggest lessons of womanhood were about love, devotion and respect. These I learned from watching my parents interact with each other every day. Despite their differences in personality, they were very much in love and treated each other daily with the upmost respect in the way the spoke to each other and interacted. They always had each other’s back. The most important thing in the world to them was their devotion to each other and our family – which was their priority every day. This devotion was never stronger than when my Mom went through her very serious bout with colon cancer. She taught me in those many, many months the true meaning of being a strong woman for her family. She faced the battle with an amazing amount of courage, faith and determination to recover – despite her diagnoses. And my poor Dad was so devastated to see the love of his life so sick. He only left her side to go to work each day. As I watched my Mom, I realized how she truly was the pillar of strength that held up our family!
Their example didn’t stop with our family, but rather extended to all of their friends and our relatives. My parents were always donating their time to someone or some organization to help others. This instilled a sense of philanthropic in my siblings and me, and more importantly taught us the importance of being loyal, supportive and dependable to others.
I recently came across the below expose about God’s specifications for a woman. I’m not sure who the author is, but it is perfect!
When God created woman he was working late on the 6th day. An angel came by and asked.” Why spend so much time on her?” The lord answered. “Have you seen all the specifications I have to meet to shape her?”
She must function on all kinds of situations.
She must be able to embrace several kids at the same time.
Have a hug that can heal anything from a bruised knee to a broken heart.
She must do all this with only two hands.
She cures herself when sick, and can work 18 hours a day.
THE Angel was impressed “Just two hands…..IMPOSSIBLE! And this is the standard model?” The Angel came closer and touched the woman. “But you have made her so soft, Lord”. “She is soft”, said the Lord, “but I have made her strong too. You can’t imagine what she can endure and overcome.”
“Can she think?” The Angel asked. The Lord answered. “Not only can she think, she can reason and negotiate.”
The Angel touched her cheeks, “Lord, it seems this creation is leaking! You have put too many burdens on her” ”She is not leaking…it is a tear” the Lord corrected the Angel… ”What’s it for?” asked the Angel. The Lord said. “Tears are her way of expressing her grief, her doubts, her love, her loneliness, her suffering and her pride.”.
This made a big impression on the Angel. “Lord, you are a genius! You thought of everything. A woman is indeed marvelous!” The Lord said, “Indeed she is. She has strength that amazes a man. She can handle trouble and carry heavy burdens. She holds happiness, love and opinions. She smiles when she feels like screaming. She sings when she feels like crying, cries when happy and laughs when afraid. She fights for what she believes in. Her love is unconditional. Her heart is broken when a next-of-kin or a friend dies, but she finds strength to get on with life”
The Angel asked: “So she is a perfect being?“ The Lord replied, “no”. She has just one drawback, she often forgets what she is WORTH!”