Where to start? Well, first I have to say that everyone I've met on this incredible journey has been so welcoming and supportive. Thanks to you all!
Watching yourself is hard enough, but I don't think I will ever get used to hearing myself. Now that's funny! Like, who is that, and why is her voice coming out of my mouth? Talk about a Jersey accent, jeez!
OK, watching the Manzos get the tour of Albie and Christopher's new digs was really fun. The boys are ready for this new challenge. Caroline's beaming smile of pride gave away a little something else though. She put up a great front for as long as she could, and then there it was... My eyes start to well up, and I felt like I had just swallowed a cantelope whole! I could feel all the strong emotions and thoughts that were going through Albert's mind and heart as well. I applaud and commend him for understanding what Christopher needs to grow and pursue his dreams. Letting go is one of the most difficult and fulfilling moments in a parent's life.
On the flip side I love seeing the excitement and anticipitation in Albie and Christopher's eyes about their new beginning. Lots of luck boys! You two certainly have what it takes to make things happen. You balance each other and make an unbeatable team! Can't wait to see and hear about all of your experiences. And hey boys, just don't forget about Lauren. She's going to miss you, I'm sure. I love watching the Manzos.
Mothers and daughters, another delicate balance. You always want to be their BFF, but you also want to teach them so much. Jaqueline seemed so proud to go visit Ashley at her new job. I can only imagine her disappointment when she found out that Ashley hadn't been going as regularly as she thought. I think that it must have been hard for Jaqueline to deal with the hard facts. It seemed to me like Jaqueline was just trying to tell Ashley if you want to live the grown up life, then you have to take on the grown up responsibilties. Having said that, I couldn't help but feel bad for Ashley as well. Growing pains are just that, painful. I feel that Ashley is overwhelmed. She's a smart, beautiful, and talented young woman, and I know she can do it. Do the work, honey, the payoff will be well worth it!
I always love to see my cousin's girls. Gia, Gabriella, Milania and Audrianna are such beautiful girls, and they are growing up so fast. Gia has really become such a lovely young little lady.
I want to address a comment that Teresa made concerning my husband, Rich, and the way he "rides her" as she so repulsively put it. First of all, anyone who knows Rich or meets him for the first time will immeditely get his sense of humor. He is a joker and likes to tease anyone and everyone. He is very funny and will say what everyone else is thinking with ease and incredible timing. Contrary to what Teresa likes to think, he does not reserve his comedic comments only for her. Please, Teresa, don't flatter yourself. Yes, I'm sure Rich has joked with Teresa about her spending among other things, and yes, he's gratefully aware that Teresa is not his wife. Let's just clarify a few things shall we. To quote my husband, he doesn't give a "rats ass" how much Teresa spends or doesn't spend. Over the years I've heard him joke with her about a lot of things. Funny though how she chose to remember that. Now, Teresa, a bit of advice -- it's usually not a good idea to bring up your spending or someone's alleged perception of it in the same conversation that you talk about your bankruptcy issues. Just sayin'.
Regarding Joey and Melissa, all I can say is what you see is what you get. And you ain't see nothing yet! I met Melissa and we immediately formed a connection. It was obvious to everyone present that night at my sister's house that Joey was head over heels for her. I was so happy for him, because I liked her and her bubbly spirit from the beginning. What a great couple they make.
Joey has always been a complete sweetie pie. When we were kids he had to be the coolest. Everyone knew and loved Joey. He has this way of talking to you like you're the only person in the room without being rude to anyone else who is in the room. He has worked very hard since he was a kid, and I'm so thrilled and proud of his accomplishments. I'm even more happy that he has an amazing family that completes him. How about those kids? Adorable Antonia is as sweet as sugar, beautiful inside and out. Gino is an exact copy of his daddy when he was young, and with Joey's help, he will be a chip off the old block in no time. How hysterical was it when Joey shouts out to Gino that he shouldn't clean up, because it was a woman's job? Gino's expression was definitely one for the record books! (Joey, I'm going to have a talk with you about that one.) Finally, and certainly not least, Baby Joey. What a little love bug. He's been causing a stir since he was born.
Which painfully brings me to the subject I've been avoiding through this entire blog, the christening. If I wasn't present I would have had an extremely hard time believing that this actually happened. How could such a beautiful, sacred day lead to the disaster you all saw unfold before your eyes. Yes, it was real, raw, and completely unexpected. You can't make this stuff up. As I watched and saw more than I had seen that evening, my heart broke and I cannot control the endless amount of tears that keep flowing. The hardest part for me was seeing my Uncle Giacinto's devastating expression and hearing the excrutiating pain in Joey's voice. Family is everything to me. You can't change things that have happened, but you can move forward. Let's all hope for the best.
On a lighter note, Rich and I have had a tons of fun taking our Latin dance lessons. So how did you like my daughter Victoria's glamor shots? We wanted to do something special for her when she turned sixteen, and we were so thrilled with how they turned out. Little girls never get too grown up to play dress up. My son, Joseph, is continuing with his serious collecting of knives from around the world. His interest began because he was able to share this with his grandfather, who was a collector. Both of my kids have a great appreciation and respect for weapons and safety. They have have both achieved the rank of black belt in Tae Kwon Do after studying martial arts for more than ten years.
We've had a great time so far. We've laughed, we've cried, and we've had some amazing adventures. I hope that you all enjoyed a glimpse into our wild Jersey world.
Lots of love!
See you next week!