Mi Familia

September 17, 2012



“What is it dear?”

“I want a Salerno butter cookie….Mommy?”

“What is it dear?”

“Forget the cookie and give me a beer.”


My mother taught me this…and a million much more appropriate lessons.

Correction: My mother insists she did NOT teach me this gem, nor did she ever tell me to go play in traffic.  These were apparently dad’s contributions. It was, however, her that taught me to shove mustache hairs up my hung-over father’s nose while singing “What do you do with a drunken sailor.”

This post has been in the making since I started my family series…I just can’t seem to ever shrink my feelings down enough to put them into blog form.

Pam Dell’Aquila or Miss D to the hundreds of kids (now adults) she taught in pre-school is the epitome of what mothers should be.  She has been the center of my universe for my forever.  She has been the focus of the majority of my past resentments (my narrow-minded fault, not hers).  She is the one I want when I’m sick or sad.  She is my greatest cheerleader and she never lets me down.  My mom can do anything… cook, garden, can, sew, diagnose car problems, diagnose life problems, fix said problems, heal her sick kids, soothe babies, put a person at ease, perfectly navigate a route she’s only traveled once, swing a hammer, fix a garbage disposal, draw, paint, create, write a story, write a boring grant proposal, clean dog poop, say the right thing in any situation, recognize trees, flowers and plants, plow, mow, drive with a trailer, drive stick…you get the point.   My bro and I (well, more me than him) lucked out in the genetics market: both of our parents are extremely smart and capable…tall too.

Mom is a pioneer woman according to my Dad and she is the anchor that holds  our little family in place through turbulent times .

Oh yes.  She has faults…like a fuse so short that a base jumping, cliff diving adrenaline junkie would think twice about lighting it.   Pride so intense that she will hide a problem until it reaches the point of no return.  And of course, the inability to say no to her very adult children.

None of that matters…because she is my mom. She loves me and accepts me and believes in me without any conditions and I love her crazy, stubborn ass exactly the same way…even if I do wish she would learn that it isn’t weak to ask for help.

Tomorrow we go to the Dr. way before I’m used to being awake, to have a spot of squamous cell carcinoma removed from her hand. It’s localized and I’m sure the procedure will go off without a hitch, but finding out my mom has cancer was not a cool thing to experience.  I’m not ready to make the transition from my mom taking care of me to me taking care of her.  I’ll do it tomorrow, but I expect her to take care of her health…to be out in her garden and in everyone’s business for a long time to come.


Oh Brother

It’s been a while. Yes, I know. I teased my 10 loyal followers with a new installment and here it is a month later b4 I decide to deliver.  In my defense, I no longer receive internship hours through my school for blogging, which has caused a huge drop in my motivation.  But, enough said.  I’m back now.  So I don’t want to hear about it.

Now I’m totally in the mood to psychoanalyze my brother.

My brother, Peter Alexander Dell’Aquila was purchased by my parents in 1989 shortly after his birth, from the Boys ‘R Us clearance rack, ruining forever my lifetime (7 year) dream of being an only child.  I’m pretty sure that my first words upon seeing him were along the lines of  “that’s the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen”.

Peter, or “Pete, Pete beats his meat”, as I am still fond of saying, is the peacemaker of our family.  He somehow escaped the two-seconds to rage attitudes that my dad, mom and I posses and instead is able to maintain a mostly calm, laid-back, everything will work out demeanor.  Mostly.  I can get him to the point of rage once in a while, like when I throw ice cream in his face.  Or when I scream no at him after he asks twenty times.  Or when I try to make him drive inside the gate to see me.  Mom can also push him to the breaking point by asking thirty-four questions all via text message and then reminding him to do the same thing six times in a day.  But, that’s not his normal state…our craziness is bound to be a little contagious.

His family role growing up may have had something to do with his career path.  He graduated from Aurora University with a Bachelor’s of Social Work last fall and is currently working at the intermediate school we both attended.  His goal is to be a social worker in a school (and a pilot) and he is going back for his Master’s to obtain the former.  Having so much experience as a mediator growing up, and living through his sister’s addiction and family’s financial struggles has made him uniquely qualified to relate to anything a child may be going through.  Pete does like nice things though.  Name brand things.  So I’m thinking he better get moving on the pilot’s license, because social work may make him rich in good karma, but it’s never gonna keep him in Oakleys and shoes.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that my brother and I have only in the past few years become friends.   We have a seven year age gap.  Mom dragged Pete to my sporting events, but I sure didn’t go to his until about his senior year of high school.  My sole use for my brother as a child, was as a real-live torture toy.  And I was good at it.  Ask him about bungee jumping, or vampires or tongue splashers bubble gum, crisco and cat food.  This incessant torture has come back to haunt me ten-fold.  Pete is now a giant and has been able to kick my scrawny butt since he was about twelve.  And he does.  Luckily I’m a glutton for punishment.

Don’t tell him, but there are a few things about him that I wish I had.  He may be a master manipulator and an absolute pro at getting others to do for him, a trait I may have passed on, but in the end he is unfailingly generous and compassionate.  He actually wants to help people, and people can tell…they have always been drawn to him.  They are able to open up to him and feel completely safe doing so.  The charisma he exudes draws people like vampires to a bleeding cut.  I have to fight for time with him.   I went snowboarding (and hurt for a week after) just to hang out with him.  I  go frolfing (which I do kinda enjoy)  just to have more time with him.  I mustn’t forget about humility.  A trait that I know the definition of, yet have a very hard time putting into practice.  Pete, on the other hand, has a hard time as the center of attention.  He would much rather help someone behind the scenes than receive accolades for his deeds.  My brother is a master of serenity (sometimes, maybe, possibly to the point of pure laziness).  In complete opposition to my fear of the unknown and uncontrollable, Peter is able to just accept life as it comes, knowing that it will all work out in the end.  He never stresses about spending twenty dollars or running out of toliet paper.

Damn, another toliet paper reference.  That’s the third blog out of nine that I’ve have referenced or mentioned toliet paper in.  See I told you I was obsessive.  On that note…I love you bro and I wouldn’t take you back to Boys ‘R Us for all the money in the world.


3 responses to “Mi Familia

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