Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Last Prima Famiglia Thanksgiving-The Beginning of the End.

It was 2001 and it was the worst thanksgiving day of my life. I couldn't remember a time, prior to this event, that I had ever cried so deeply and so long. I had no sign of when the pain and ache would end. I honestly felt as if I would cry myself to the death.

Growing up my sister, five years my senior, and I were very close- as close as two sisters could be in my home. She was older than me and sorta watched over me, but she also used me as her little side kick-- and honestly, I was okay with that. She was the only one that paid any attention to me on a day to day basis. I did whatever she said. If she wanted go to the 7:30am church service on a Sunday morning, I went. If she wanted to spend an entire day mowing, front and back lawns, picking weeds, and planting flowers, I was her man-I mean I was her 7 year old kid. If she wanted to go shopping and didn't want to go alone- I was there holding the bags. If she wanted to watch 'knot's landing'-I was there watching a show I couldn't understand. If she was frightened of the thunder storm in the middle of the night, I was the one who allowed her to crawl in my bed and made her feel safe. I was also the one who agreed with her in everything. If she said to jump, I asked, the proverbial question of "How high?" and I loved her with all my heart. She meant the world to me - because--she was my world.

She was also an artist and I looked up to her. She would draw amazing Christmas scenes on eggs that she blown out. She made beautiful things with shells and crab legs that we had found on the beach. She had this sweet tender side, but that was not the side of her you would often see or that she let just anyone see. She was mostly bossy, aggressive, forceful and if she didn't get her way-brutal. She was not a girl of many words-fists with punches behind them were her language. I fell out of line a few times, but it didn't take me long to get back in line and start marching right behind her. No, she was not one you would ever say no to or cross. For she knew just how to make your life miserable. So with me in line, being quiet, as her servant, little, puppy--we got along great.

I knew everything about her life. I can't say she ever really knew me though. I can't remember a time where she asked me how my day was, or asked me why I was crying. Funny though, I loved her still. At that time I was so grateful to her. I cannot express that gratitude towards her-maybe, I guess, it was the fact that she allowed me to watch her. I learned so many of the plain day to day things of life from her. (You see my mother and father were in their own world's -so this particular sister was like a mother to me--and I guess one just loves their mom no matter what--flaws and all).

So in 2001, we were grown adults. She and I were married. She had three children and I was pregnant with my second. My husband, one year old and pregnant self traveled from our married home to my childhood home to be with my side of the family for Thanksgiving. When we arrived there was a 'cold air' about the family, but we were happy to be visiting and looking forward to the day's events.

We woke up early on Thanksgiving day, bundled up and headed into Manhattan for the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade. It really was alot of fun, but inside-- my stomach was doing flip-flops. I knew I must have 'gotten out of line' with my sister some how, didn't know what I had done, but knew that the 'punches' were on their way.

On the car ride home from the city I sat next to her on purpose hoping to get a chance to confront the issue, say my apologies and continue with the day, but I soon realized that it was not that simple. Essentially I was told that the family "finally saw me for who I really was" and they hated me for it. She listed my cowardice and shyness as offenses to the family.

When we arrived back to my childhood home, my mother was in complete agreement with the 'airing of grievances.' My sister continued to tell me of my 'sins' against the family. My confusion was great and  I couldn't see any of it as sins in the least. Then the final blow came...she said, "None of us have ever loved you- we have carried you along because you are blood."

The words hung in the air. At first my mind asked, 'Could this really be true? Could she really mean what she is saying?' Then I knew it was true. All those years...no relationship only service. My mother walked by again, glad the words were finally being said and kept going.

My brother and his beautiful family had not arrived yet and I knew that they were not a part of this census--I remained silent.

Thanksgiving day went on as scheduled. food, wine, smiles, guests. I was broken. I tried so hard not to cry, but at last I went into the bathroom and the flood of tears began. My mother came in and yelled at me, "Pull it together!! How could you be so absurd to ruin Thanksgiving!!!"

I did pull myself together, I wiped my face, went downstairs, got our things, and my new family-husband, baby and I walked out the door.

(Part of the Prima Famglia saga)

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