My vivid memories started when I was three.
That was the start of my little life.
And most of those memories are not great.
But, because of who I am, how I process, what I choose to focus on,
that means I really emphasize and linger on all the not so great parts and I tend to let the good go.
And, there was good.
Like how many late nights my family spent with my cousins who were my best friends.
The smile on my mom's face when she was around her family, her sisters, her parents.
The shouting and laughter that came from those late nights when all the men played cards.
How when we were older, we were allowed to play too and how happy that felt.
How many times my cousin and I talked our parents into sleep overs.
How gentle my parents were on the rides home, with two exhausted kids in the car.
The first time we moved into our new house and how they were both beaming with pride of what they accomplished.
Vacations to Canada and how much he loved going, how much he felt connected.
How much we loved it, those trips, our summers.
How he always felt most connected with extended family.
How he still feels most connected, most loved, when he is surrounded.
The night before Christmas,
midnight mass and everyone opening gifts in a storm of wrapping paper flurries into all hours of the night.
How bedtimes did not matter.
How when we were really really little and he worked tough hours, we would catch a glimpse of him in the morning
and he really missed us.
Every once in a while, he would surprise us with a dollar coin and we had to take turns as to who got to put it in their piggy bank.
How we only had one car and so we walked everywhere with our mom.
Her on one side, me on the other.
And on the really cold days, she would hold our hand and place it in her pocket to keep warm.
There was good too.
There was something there that looked and felt a lot like family.
When you both think back, what will I leave with you?
Will you be flooded by the good?
Will you have to search, or will it be right there?
Will the good be right there to keep you warm, and have you follow some guide?
Here is some of our amazing...
Traditions could not be more important to me.
And I have many for us so please remember and please make your family all about them too.
Friday family pizza and movie night.
Sunday pancake breakfast.
Christmas Eve dinner at Nonna and Nonno's house followed by opening gifts with your cousins (a little bit of Ruzza) and getting new pjs and going to see all the decorated homes (a little bit of Houser).
NYC every holiday season.
Picking out your ornament from Macy's.
Baking our holiday cookies.
Summers at the Cape.
Saturday summers at the track.
Sunday bike rides.
Decorating our tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving
spending that entire day watching holiday movies and in PJs!
Sunday family swims.
We tried, really hard.
At everything we did.
Parenting, work, our home, love.
We work really hard for all of us.
Remember that our hours were long.
Our days, long.
But our hard work was all for us
At times, we lost sight of what was important.
Like time with us
and happiness was put on the back burner.
But it was your faces and little voices that always brought me back.
We had a lot of that.
In our hugs,
We had it all wrapped up in each other.
Nights in front of the fire.
Story times snuggled in bed.
Praying for what we are thankful for.
On our knees, asking for forgiveness when we are unkind.
Love and patience when needed,
and always love.
Remember each other.
How much you lean on each other.
How much you help each other.
How important it is that the other is happy,
Remember your first words to him were, you're my best friend.
Remember that he compliments you.
Remember that he looks up to you and that's why he is always there.
Remember that he needs you and you need him too.
Remember that only you two share your childhood.
Only you two can complain about us in a way that will be 100% understood.
Remember that you are love when you are gentle to each other.
With your dad.
Full of warmth.
Times at the track.
Times at the library.
Remember late nights.
Ice cream dessert.
Ice cream for dinner.
Remember downtown blown up.
Remember the Cape.
Remember the beach.
Remember sun screen, sun kissed.
Remember the explosion of childhood.
Remember the holidays.
And all we made important for you.
How hard we focused on what really mattered during the holidays.
Remember gathered family.
and time together.
Remember how warm it was
how cozy our home felt.
How calm it all of a sudden became.
Remember the importance of love
and how we tried to make it stand still
Remember that there was good.
Even in our mistakes.
The ones we learned from
asked for forgiveness and patience.
Asked for love to put us back together.
Remember that we were all that mattered.
Remember childhood, a #happychildhood.
One that I always dreamed of,
one that I always wanted for you.
One that warms my heart and makes me smile.
Remember there was good because there was love in this home.