I know, I’m a solid week late for a post on things I’m thankful for. But I can’t help it if I stumbled on my Thanksgiving treasure chest Sunday night. I spent most of last week at my parents’ house, cooking and yelling and snuggling with my five-month-old niece. When all was finally quiet on Sunday, I got an itch to poke through my parents’ old photo albums. I hadn’t looked at them in a good ten years, but so many siblings crammed into one house reminded me of when life used to always be that way. We were constantly together, whether we liked it or not, looking out for, annoying, and amusing one another. So, before we slip quietly back into the workweek grind, here are a few shots I dug up that make me oh-so-thankful.
I’m thankful for…
My brothers, for going through great lengths to keep me tough. My brother Sal went as far as taking the Cabbge Patch Big Wheel so I could have the badass “traffic patrol” bike. And Joey, always supportive and encouraging, even when I was clearly perplexed by the high-tech dashboard.
My brothers, again, for showing me the importance of doing things 110%. For example, it’s not enough to dress like Mr. T. Joey taught me that you must be Mr. T. Don’t fall out of character, even if it means wearing a plastic mask at Nonna’s house all day. Never mind that you’re developing a rash under all that synthetic material. Once you set a goal for yourself, you have a responsibility to see it through. And Sal, for demonstrating the value in keeping it cool. Sure, maybe there are ghosts in the house, and he’s the only Ghostbuster who can do anything about it. That’s fine. Just keep a level head and focus.
Mom, for her incredible style, no matter how mad I am at her for throwing away that cardigan. Dad, for having the gumption to rock polka dots and a ‘fro on a windy boat. And both of them, for not letting that lady in the high-waist tube top outfit distract them from their hot date.
Chuck e Cheese’s, for encouraging kids to shake their fear of giant rats at an early age. And my brothers, whose support helped me channel my terror into a semi-convincing smile.
My dad, for having impeccable taste in girls and massive cars. And for being the kind of guy who took his Nonna everywhere (there’s Nonna Concetta in the background). I’m also thankful to Sal, for bearing the brunt of my parents’ 70’s polyester phase, nobly donning massive collars so Joey and I could be spared.
Mom, again, for her love of life’s simple pleasures: food, nature, family, and friends. What else matters, really? Combining all of those things with a killer outfit, that’s what.
My brother Joey, for teaching me the importance of choosing your battles. Sure, he could have screamed and protested against those knee socks and sailboat overalls, but he knew, even then, that patience and tolerance go a long way.
That patience and tolerance are what got me through this sailor dress fiasco. I’m not sure if Sal ever really survived the Hawaiian shirt and stretchy-waist khakis. He was never quite the same after that. He swears our mom forced the outfit on him. It’s still a touchy subject.