Here we go again, deja vu. It feels like I was just writing my last blog. Why is it that the summer weeks just fly by and winter seem to last forever? I feel like I was just gathering my thoughts and feelings together for last week's episode and here we are again. Oh wait a minute, we're still at the Gorga's Christmas party.
With that in mind, I want to first thank you all, yes all of you. The good, the bad, and the ugly comments that I received concerning last week's episode. I want you to know that I do read all of your tweets, your Facebook posts, and all of the comments posted on my blog.
For those of you that understand how I was feeling, I appreciate your kind words of support and encouragement. I'm glad I'm not the only one out there that has tried to do the right thing and for whatever reason it backfired. Then when you don't get the reaction you hoped for you become frustrated and hurt. Raw emotions often don't obey etiquette.
Now for the viewers that feel my outburst was out of line and my timing was off. Whether you understand my feelings or not, they are my feelings and I have a right to them. As for timing, well, to that I say, the time is now. Do things when you have the opportunity to do them. There's never really the right time to have a conversation with someone that doesn't want to hear what you have to say or doesn't care. I didn't attack, I didn't ambush, nor did I hover. I was persistent, yes. I didn't want our exchange to be one that is superficial and fake, because glossing over the hurt doesn't make our relationship better. I wanted to have the chance to put the whole Posche misunderstanding behind us and move forward together as cousins.
I wanted to invite her and her family over for Christmas Eve as we've done many times in the past. In fact we used take turns hosting Christmas Eve. Could I have called, sure. But I believe that there is nothing more personal than resolving issues face to face. I knew that Teresa would never call me. Instead she would say that she's over it, and she doesn't want to bring up the past and stay positive, but her reaction shows that she holds a grudge. Watching Teresa in action for the last few years, you know that things have to be done on Teresa's terms. At the time I wasn't ready to kiss Don Teresa's ring.
Since the Posche fashion show exchange seems to keep making it's way into every episode, for the last time, I did not insult her parenting abilities. Watch that episode over again and “Pay attention, puhlease!” It was Teresa that started to insult me first by questioning my motives for leaving the christening and actually insulting my judgment as a parent. I was worried for the safety and well being of my children and hers as well. Watch it carefully and you will see how she drew her own conclusions and took our talk to a negative place. The kids were not even the reason I pulled her aside. I wanted to encourage her to reach out to her brother.
My intentions at the Christmas party were to resolve my own issues with Teresa and put it behind us. I wanted to do my part to end any drama between Teresa and me, but she wouldn't let me get passed, “Hello, it's nice to see you.”
Which brings me to this week's episode. I guess Teresa's words reveal that she has no desire to make up with me. “I don't care…It's not written in stone that I have to make up with my cousin." Did you all catch that conversation she had with Jacqueline? Family is everything? I guess when Teresa refers to family she is talking about one that doesn't include her cousin, who by the way has Gorga blood running through her. OK, I suppose everyone's definition of family is different.
At this point in the evening I just wanted to put things behind me and try to salvage the night. Once again, Rich is making crazy, outrageous comments to get me to laugh and change my mood. By the way, whoever takes his comments seriously just doesn't get his sense of humor. You don't have to, but I get it. He's being absurd to make me crack a smile. It's the same comedic timing that has helped us get through some of the worst circumstances in our twenty years together. His sense of humor is one of the many things I fell in love with. Laughter is indeed the best medicine. I am beyond lucky to have a husband that knows what I need before I even do.
Speaking of laughter and clowns, Albert's description of Kim G. has to be the best yet. As I was saying to my other girlfriend, Kim, at the party (I know there's just as many Kims as there are Joes in our circle) I'm curious why she needed to point out that she was drinking champagne out of the wrong type of glass. Who cares, and if it bothers you that much, don't drink it. I was trying to be cordial to her over that last few occasions we were in one another's company. Now she's trying to get me sucked in to her little game. It very clear she was stirring up drama in this lengthy war with Teresa over a few comments made over two years ago. Boy, both of them can sure hold a grudge. At this point I was already frustrated with the evening and as soon as the conversation went to an ugly place, I made my exit. I didn't stand around to wait for the Teresa bashing to start. I've had enough drama for one night.
What happened next I wasn't even fully aware of until I watched all as you did. Albert and Caroline, kudos to you both. Talk about doing the right thing, these kids really stepped up. However, I have to give my most heartfelt compliments to Christopher. He handled Kim G. with such respect. To be quite honest, it was more than she deserved. He conducted himself like a gentleman and kept the respect for his best friend John in mind during the whole incident. Despite the fact that Kim wasn't conducting herself like the lady she claims to be and wasn't in the least bit worried about her son, John, and what he would be feeling when he heard about her behavior. My heart broke for Christopher when he was sitting and telling his family how he felt. You can clearly see that Caroline was hurting too. Even though I'm sure she was proud of him, you always hurt when your kids are hurting, no matter how old they are.
Christmas Eve, “La Viglia di Natale,” The Feast Of the Seven Fishes. For those of you that don't know why we Italians celebrate Christmas Eve with a huge fish dinner, I'll give you a quick little lesson. The early Christians in Italy believed that the day was so sacred, celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So they would honor this day by abstaining from meat. For those that don't know, Christians also use the fish to signify peace. Why seven? Well, there are several explanations. There are seven sacraments, seven sins, and of course, the most memorable for me, it took seven days for God to create the earth. There are so many more that I've heard through the years, but we could be here all day. When I was growing up my mom always prepared the traditional fish diner for Christmas Eve. Unfortunately for my mom, most of my siblings didn't even like fish. So she always had to make other meatless dishes on that day to keep everyone happy. Lucky for us that she kept the tradition going, since we've all grown to love it now and look forward to this special meal.
It has always been a wish of mine to have my mom, sister, my kids, and myself busy in the kitchen preparing holiday diners together. When I watch this scene play back I can't help but be overjoyed to see us all together sharing family traditions, passing our customs down from one generation to the next.
I must have inherited the love for spicy food from my Uncle Giacinto. I think that he and I are the only ones that can handle his hot mussels marinara. I'm glad to see that he hasn't altered his recipe to make everyone else happy. There are some recipes that just have to remain intact. Just give me some bread and I'll be happy to soak up all that spicy goodness.
When Rich and I got married, we hated to split up this holiday, since it was so meaningful for both of our families. So we decided to take over and have both of our families along with our extended family and friends join us. Since Rich's family doesn't follow the same fish tradition, we combine the two cultures and make traditional Lebanese Christmas favorites as well. It's a group effort, and that's what makes it all the more special. Some years I've even catered some special things from none other than, you guessed it, The Brownstone. Our home quickly became an “open house” -- all are welcome. Over the years it has grown to be a multi-cultural and multi-religious group gathering. The last time Teresa and Joe Giudice were at my house for Christmas Eve, Joe was remembering Christmas Eve as a kid, when everyone would get together and dance. Rich immediately cleared our living room furniture, cranked up the music, and it was like Studio 54 at the Wakile's. Young and old were up and moving, the kids had a ball. That's got to be one of my favorite Christmas memories.
There were a few years however that we didn't celebrate our annual gathering at Christmas Eve. Those few years were very dark for us when we suffered the loss of Rich's father and then the following year we lost my dad. I guess that's why Rich and I try to embrace the happy times and try not to get caught up on insignificant matters. Grudges, pride, or ego have absolutely no place in the family dynamic. We would rather cry about a few misspoken words during a quarrel than shed tears of regret for years that you can't get back. I guess I also learned that early on in life.
“History has a way of repeating itself.” I think that no truer words have been spoken. It's our history that makes us who we are. Embrace our traditions, learn from our mistakes, so we don't repeat them.
When my mother starts to share a significant Christmas Eve memory, I can't help but get emotional. I remember how emotional she was when she came home that day. It had hit me so hard, that I was determined to try to make things better between the two families. So the next day on Christmas, I asked my older brother to join me in paying a visit to my Uncle Giacinto's house. We wanted to talk to him and try to resolve this petty disagreement between him and my dad. Although I was nervous I was determined to end their feud once and for all. I wasn't sure how he was going to receive us, but he welcomed us with open arms.
My dad always realized the importance of family. He was lucky enough to have most of his brothers living near him in America. So he wanted the same for my mother. During one of my father's visits back to Italy to see his sister, my dad decided he was going to sponsor my Uncle Giacinto to come to America. After all he was still single and didn't have any attachments in Italy. It was a great opportunity for him to have a more successful future.
When my Uncle Giacinto came to this country he lived with us. I still remember those days like they were yesterday. Whenever I see Joey Gorga and Gia together it sparks great memories in me, because my siblings and I were equally fond of my uncle. He possessed that same charisma that Joey has. My mother and my uncle had to get reacquainted since my mom left Italy and Giacinto was only about eleven years old. But in no time at all he quickly became a member of our family unit. He was an older brother to my brothers, and when you look at photos from that time, you will find either my sister Rosie or me hanging on his arm or on his lap.
After living with us for about a year or so my Uncle Giacinto went back home to visit his parents. He also met and married Teresa's mom. When they returned to America they lived with us for a little while until they found a place of their own and quickly our family tree began to grow. Teresa and Joey came along and Rosie and I were thrilled to finally have little cousins on my mother's side to grow up with.
My uncle Giacinto worked very hard to establish a solid foundation for his family, as most immigrants did when hey were given the opportunity to settle in America. My father had a very successful shoe repair business. OK, I know what you're all thinking, how cliché, Tony the shoemaker from Italy. You can't make this stuff up. Anyway my father was getting tired and wanted to scale back, his own sons showed little interest in being a shoemaker and taking over the family business. My Uncle Giacinto was also getting tired of working so many hours in various construction jobs. Physical labor really starts to take a toll. When my Uncle Giacinto approached my father and told him that if he was interested in selling his business he would be willing to buy it. It was a perfect match. My father worked for years to build up a faithful clientele and a business that did well enough to support a wife and five children. It would have broken my father's heart to see his hard work go to the hands of a stranger. So he taught my uncle the trade and my father was able to start to pay attention to his already failing health. In a perfect world, everything would run smoothly. Both parties would continue to abide by the terms of the original agreement. Well, without getting into the he said, he said. So many years have passed and it so insignificant it doesn't even matter. Needless to say, my father and my uncle argued about who was right.
When neither party was willing to give in, who do you think got caught up in the middle? You guessed it, my mom. However, my mother wasn't going get caught up in the mess. After all, she worked full time, had five children, and had plenty of household duties to take care of. Her plate was full. There was little time for petty nonsense. However, when you don't deal with a conflict right away, time seems to fly by and the years add up until someone who was very close to you has now become a stranger. Until that fateful Christmas Eve when my mom ran into my Uncle Giacinto at the fish market.
This story has a happy ending. During our visit to my uncle's house it was clear that he too missed his only family here in America. Like my parents he was ready to put this silly disagreement behind them. A few days after Christmas, my parents made a visit to my aunt and uncle's home and we all celebrated Teresa and Joey's parents' wedding anniversary.
The phone call that Chris Laurita made to Caroline's radio show was really moving. It shows how much Chris wants the very best for Ashley. Caroline was clearly moved. I don't know how she didn't just fall apart from the sound of her brother's voice. I don't know too much about Chris, but after watching this I can see that behind those baby blues there's a man that only wants the best for his daughter, biological or not. Ashley, I know you love him too. Now, about that New Year's Resolution, how's it working out?
I can't finish this blog without thanking Melissa. I'm so glad she was able to answer the question that's always been on my mind too. Jesus is 89 years old. How cute was Antonia's face when Melissa told her that? Melissa cracks me up, where does she come up with this stuff? Gino, Gino... a chip off the old block. What a little cutie pie, flexing his muscles already. I love those kids.
I want to close this blog by not being in the least bit modest. I am going to have to agree with Andy Cohen, Jersey has the most beautiful kids! What a gorgeous bunch. We have every age group represented and each and every one is more beautiful than words! Kids at Christmas! What a special time, memories that last a lifetime. We have so much to learn from our children. They possess the unconditional love that we adults sometimes lose site of.
“Laugh when you can, apologize when you should, and let go of what you can't change. Life's too short to be anything…but happy.” Anonymous
Can you sprinkle a little bit of that unconditional love over Jersey ? Please. I promise to bake you some extra special cookies.
Lots of love! Xoxo,
P.S. Thank you all for complimenting my Christmas party look. I got my dress from The Fig Leaf Boutique in Garfield, N.J. Lynn's website is www.thefigleafboutique.com. My makeup was done by my friend Alyssa Shackil, her studio is in Hawthorne, N.J. (Blush Makeup Studio & Boutique). My hair was done by my friend and former co-worker Mina Terranova at L'Egance Hair Salon in Totowa, N.J.
Be sure to follow my family and me on Twitter: