Well, it seems like just yesterday were partying to the sounds of live music and savoring excellent food and drink in the company of family and friends at Drexelbrook, in honor of Mom and Dad's 50th milestone anniversary. And now here we are, already two years out from that festive occasion!
It is not an easy feat, especially in the modern world, to raise five children (including one with special needs); manage a household; excute a brilliant surgical career (along with the stresses of life and death situations, and unfair lawsuits); navigate through some tricky financial times (especially the stagflation years of the 70s with college tuitions looming ahead); suffer the pain of loss (as beloved parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins transitioned into the next life); and nurture a strong marriage. Yet somehow my parents managed to do it all exceptionally well.
And in spite of the difficulties, one of the many things I appreciate most is that they guarded the innocence of childhood with a vengeance: my mom and dad never let the burdens of everyday life interfere with their ability to appreciate and enjoy the time spent with their offspring. It was their belief that children grew up fast enough; therefore they should be permitted to relish their pre-adult lives free from the grown-up problems they'd inevitably face with the passage of time.
And whether it involved summer BBQs by the pool surrounded by relatives and friends; festive Holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas characterized by good food, company and fun; Eagles and Phillies games witnessed at the Vet or viewed in the comfort of our rec room; summer vacations at the Jersey Shore; or even just lively conversation around the dinner table, I will always be grateful to have been born into a close, loving family. Sure, we had our ups and downs like all other human beings that comprise a family unit (heck, we still do sometimes) but my parents steadfastly and unfailingly provided the things that really matter -- genuine loyalty, devotion, love and affection.
Even if I'd grown up in row-home, as both my parents did, instead of the sprawling French colonial we lived in on Martins Run, I'd still consider myself a child of privilege. I've never had to experience the pain of divorce as a little girl or adolescent, thanks to a spouse's wandering eye or proclivity to violence. Nor have I had to endure the shame of verbal, physical or sexual abuse, or the scourge of alcoholism.
Growing up, I didn't quite appreciate these blessings as fully as I should have. Now as an adult and product of a traditional upbringing who can't help but feel a profound sense of sadness at contemporary society's skyrocketing divorce rate and acceptance of behavior we'd once considered shameful, I've come to realize just how fortunate I am to call Rose and Al DiGiovanni my parents.
Congratulations Mom and Dad, God bless you and thanks for memories! xoxo