A dozen years ago, I married into an Italian Catholic family and became part of a gregarious clan that gathers regularly to celebrate weddings, funerals, family reunions, and any excuse to cook and share the “La Bella Figura.” Although my marriage ended in divorce, that family remains an important part of my life and I miss them; well, most of them.
My ex-niece is getting married Friday, and of course, I’m not invited. One of the many unfortunate realities of divorce is that the ex-spouse belongs to the ex-family. I remain in contact with my delightful ex-sister-in-law and her charming children, and I wish we were closer. Because of my past failures and my current success in marriage, I want to offer some advice to my ex-niece on the eve of her wedding.
- Believe in Yourself. You can’t depend upon anyone or anything else to make you happy. Your tenacity will sustain you throughout your life, and your husband will appreciate a self-confident partner (and vice versa.)
- Retain an Attitude of Gratitude. Sometime after the wedding you will experience the first major disappointment or crisis. Be grateful for the opportunity to prove that you are strong enough to handle it. Kick some butt, if necessary.
- Respect your Family and In-laws. My ex-mother-in-law, your late grandmother, raised six children and dutifully supported her military husband. And, she made the best green lasagna in the world. My ex-father-in-law, The Colonel, is still feisty, and I miss talking with him.
- Children are Fabulous and Frustrating. If you are blessed with children, share equally in the responsibilities. Make your marriage a priority so that when the kids move away you’ll be excited because the two of you can run around the house naked.
- Keep the Faith. It’s great fun to experience the abundant joys of life. The true challenge comes when you’re assaulted with pain and circumstances that bring you to your knees. But, that’s where you will be comforted and inspired by the grace of God. Trust me.
I believe that people come into our lives for a reason. I was raised in a critical, competitive family; my father chose not to attend my high school graduation, my parents and brothers refused the invitation to my first wedding, my brother sued me and I haven’t seen him in 14 years. So I’m grateful to the Romanos for giving me a brief but boisterous look at how families should celebrate together. Now, I eagerly enjoy spending time with my wonderful husband, our children, and their families. It’s with that conviction that I raise a glass to toast Jenn and her new husband and sincerely invite them to come to Idaho for a visit. I have a well-worn recipe for her grandma’s green lasagna, and we will eat, drink and be merry.
Today’s blog is compliments of a bottle of Amarone, a bold, Italian, dry, red wine that is worth the price, and perfect for a special family celebration. Ciao!