eat ice cream before bed

6 Dec

Many families have The Patriarch. The Man in the family separate from the other men, the head of the family. I was born with them too, Clarence Saling and Anthony Petitti. My grandpas.

Very weird, but kind of understandable- when I was really little I used to beg my mom to marry my grandpa (her dad) because I wanted him to be my dad- Ha! But he was such a loving man my pahpaw, what I called my Grandpa Saling until I was about 6. My grandpa was my favorite person in the world and I didn’t have a “dad” yet, so it just made sense to my three year old mind for my two adults to be married… sorry grandma.

Only my dad’s dad would be able to show so much love and bring such laughter through being so blunt. One of the last things my Grandpa Petitti said to me when he was literally on his death bed was “Maybe you’ll be able to shut the hell up now”. We were all wearing surgical masks so we didn’t expose his sensative immune system to any of our winter colds and I was basically always talking. He couldn’t resist the urge! It made everyone in the room smile and laugh because we could see the real him again.

And then there was my immediate family. Which has consistently been my mom and myself, with my dad making the longest appearance otherwise. Anthony Michael Petitti Jr. Perfect by no means, but I’ll be damned if the man didn’t live. He might not be my birth father, but as our dear friends from West Virgina like to say about me in relation to my dad ‘You’re shit right out your dad’s ass’. Which is West Virginian for something along the lines of ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.’ He shared with me his greatest passions that in turn became my own- travel, scuba diving, entrepreneurship, seizing every single day.

I had them too at one point. The men.

My mom is one of three girls and my dad, the lone boy among five sisters. Growing up I had grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles and tons of cousins. I didn’t notice the women more than the men necessarily. However there were always “The Sisters” and “The Girls”, my dad and mom’s sides respectively. But when I was 14 things started changing. To quote my Great Uncle Bobby, this is when the families started “dripping in estrogen”.

My Grandpa Saling, my pahpaw’s, auorta ruptured and after a failed attempt at a replacement, he died. My mom’s side has never been the same. We just didn’t recover. My grandpa knew what to say to everyone when things went to those places they inevitably do. Our healing continues. So he was the first one to go. Let me say now that all my aunts are married to wonderful men and I love my uncles, all us women are just a lot and tend to dominate sitations. Next was my dad in a tragic boating accident. He died “surfing” on his feet down the slide on the back of our houseboat. At least he was doing what he loved, with people he loved and in his favorite spot in the world when he died.That and donating his organs were the saving grace, the silver-lining in the sitation. It might have even been when I first learned to look for and how to always be able to find the silver-lining. While I wish I wouldn’t have needed to, I have developed quite a skill at staying positive and joyful where others struggle. So now the Salings and my immediate family are Patriach-less. And then call it what you will, but some of us call it a broken heart from burying his only son. My Grandpa Petitti died very quickly of colon cancer about two and a half years after my dad. So the Petittis were the last to make the transition from Patriarchal family and form the new group of people I know and love as my family today.

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But not everyone has left. And you know who was there through all of it? Even if they had to drink a little bit of brandy just to fall asleep for a few months after her husband of 50 years died? Even after her husband and her father died without nearly enough time to heal inbetween. Even if she left her husband and baby to not leave my side when my husband died. My Tribe. My grandmas, mom, aunts and cousins who are the strongest bunch of women the earth as been graced with. Between all of us, life has very much been experienced to the fullest with canyons of sadness, but also mountains of joy. These women are my masculine and feminine energy. My ying and my yang as far as family goes. We are a matriarchy. A beautiful, strong, bitchy, emotional, loving matriachy. Oh and both of my Matriarchs eat ice cream every night before bed. So if it’s good enough for them… eat ice cream before bed. Maybe it’s the secret to not just making it through this life, but actually enjoying the journey.

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