I was at the shore all weekend with Joe, my girls, and my friends -- two of my friends from high school came to visit me -- so I didn't get to watch this episode until it aired on repeat!
As I'm typing this, I'm watching Andy on Watch What Happens Live. Whoever that John Hickey guy is, I love you! Thank you to whoever voted to spend Christmas with the Giudice family (Andy, it's "judyCHAY"! I'll sort it out with you next week in the Clubhouse... get my bellini ready!). But this year, I would've voted to spend Christmas with the Manzos too -- my whole family was sick! You saw poor Gia throwing up, but you didn't see Joe doing the same thing. We all had a stomach bug. You smile and push through it because it's Christmas, but we were not feeling good that morning, especially Joe. I love that even though he was so sick, he still videotaped the girls while he was lying on the couch.
We were up so late too. We went to midnight mass then everyone came over to our house and we ate some more (looking back, this year the second round wasn't such a good idea...). We probably only had like two hours of sleep. So yes, that plus being sick didn't make Joe super happy. And he was not happy seeing how unhappy I was about Christmas Eve.
Yes, this time he did call Melissa a "witch." You've seen my husband on TV for a few years now. You know he's a straight shooter and he says what he thinks. I have no problem owning it when either Joe or I say something. So this week he did say she was a "witch." Our kids weren't around when he said it, I didn't like it, and I told him not to say it, but it's certainly not the worst thing Joe could say. I think what Kathy called me at Melissa's party was a little stronger than that, no?
Here's why he said it: I was DEVASTATED that Melissa and my brother Joey left our house in the middle of Christmas Eve. My parents were devastated. My kids were devastated. And it came out of the blue. I have never, ever spent Christmas Eve away from my brother and my parents. We always, ALWAYS spend it together. It's "my" holiday -- my chance to host. My mother used to host it, then I took over. We've spent a couple of Christmas Eves with Kathy's family, but always as a group, and it wasn't our normal thing. Our thing was to be together with my parents. Joey and I and our families and our parents. I know I'm harping on this, but you have to understand what a big deal this was to my family. And for the first time ever, with no warning, Joey says he's leaving (before dinner!) because he's going to Kathy's house. Never in a million years did I expect that. My husband was right, if he really needed to go to Kathy's house, he could have stopped there first, had drinks, and then come and spent Christmas with his family. But instead he stopped by, acted like nothing was up, then suddenly tells me he's leaving. And within minutes of telling us, he's saying, "Pack it up! Pack it up!" It was just so sudden and weird and hurtful.
My girls and Joey's kids have spent every Christmas Eve together, and suddenly they're being hustled to the car and told they'll open our presents later? So all the kids are crying, and my parents are upset. I just couldn't even believe it. You know what it's like to spend hours making a big meal and getting ready for having your family over -- then half of them suddenly leave for another party in the middle of it? They sort of took the holiday spirit right out the door with them. It really sucked being left like that.
I was trying to calm the kids down, trying to take the surprise news well, but it seemed so unreal. I literally thought Joey was playing a joke on me. And all I kept hearing was "Kathy." Watching the episode now, seeing Kathy so concerned about my brother's feelings, it's easier to see both sides. But to me, at the time, all I could think of was why would Kathy deliberately try and split my family up? Kathy has three brothers. Whether she's talking to them or not, I would never ever take it upon myself to invite one of them away from her Christmas Eve dinner and over to mine. If she was so interested in us making up, why didn't she tell my brother he needed to spend Christmas with his sister and parents? How can any of us have time to heal and make things right when the cousins are ripped apart and Joey and Melissa leave before dinner? It didn't seem like Kathy was really on the side of our family getting back together.
And PS Kathy, here's a lesson on being a good cousin -- don't blog lies about my father and your father. Are you kidding me? I'm appalled by what you wrote about my dad. He is an amazing man -- such a warm, loving, affectionate man. Not everyone has that for an uncle... You know there's more to that story, much more. Your version was very nice to your dad, but unfortunately it's not true. For one, my father didn't get his first shoemaking business from your dad. Out of respect for my uncle who passed, I'm not going to write any more, but please don't write about my parents again if you don't want me to start telling the truth about you and yours.
I know you all want me and Kathy to get along, and I want that too, but this is the kind of stuff that makes it hard -- her writing things that hurt my family, her setting up things behind the scenes... What am I supposed to do? What would you do in my shoes? I don't bring up things outside the show in the personal lives of Kathy or Melissa. I only write about what's on the episodes or what's in their blogs. I have to defend my family. It makes me sick I have to defend my family from my family.
And as for Melissa... I know she talks a good game too, batting her eyelashes and asking Joey if he really wants to stay, but it is just talk. My Joe knows the wife can make it and the wife can break it. We've been there with his family. Joe knows the influence Melissa has on Joey. My brother is a great husband, and he'll do whatever she asks him to. So he was telling me, if Melissa can work her magic and get anything she wants, why didn't she work her magic to get her husband to stay with his family on Christmas? Why didn't she say to him, "Since I've known you, you've always spent Christmas Eve with your parents and your sister. We shouldn't run out on them before dinner! You know it will crush Teresa and kill your parents. We should stay. Try to fix this family. Thank you, Jesus!" Yeah, I didn't hear that either.
What I did hear was her saying being with us was like being with "strangers." That didn't make any sense to me since she's been in our family for six years now. We live five minutes away, and now we're strangers? Who does she think she's hurting by saying that? That's crushing to my parents to hear after they've embraced her.
I also heard Melissa worrying out loud about not showing up for Kathy's and leaving her in the lurch. Um, what? You know I've cooked a huge feast, set the table, and am expecting you to stay for dinner like you have every single year since you've met me. And you're going to take your family of five and ditch right before dinner? With no warning, no phone call, just bam! "Pack it up!" Where's the concern about leaving me in the lurch? I'm pretty sure Kathy's buffet wasn't screwed up, but my Christmas Eve dinner was.
If, God forbid, I had lost my father and my husband wanted to ditch his parents on Christmas, I wouldn't have let him. I thought Melissa was all about bringing our family together, about Joey spending time with his dad. I guess that just doesn't apply to Jesus's birthday. Or Thanksgiving. Or Gia's gymnastics meet...
I was upset when they left, but more than anything, I was upset for my parents and my kids. I keep hearing Melissa saying it's all about the kids. So why tear them apart for the first time ever on Christmas Eve? So you could let your hair down and drink at Kathy's? I don't get it. Her actions don't match her words. Gia was hanging onto my brother, Antonia was crying, who knows if my parents will be around next year... That was the reality of that night. That's what Melissa and Joey walked away from. Melissa can say in every single interview and write her fake happy blogs about how much family means to her, how she's trying to fix it, but that's not what her actions show over and over again. I don't care how much they try and hurt me, I can take it. It's watching my kids and parents hurt that I can't take. If Melissa really wanted to be the hero that "fixes" my family (even though it was fine before she came along...), she should have seen the pain on everyone's face and insisted Joey stay. What an amazing Christmas present that would have been!
Back to Christmas morning, yes, I did take Gia's picture right after she threw up. I know it seems crazy, but like a lot of moms, I get crazy with the pictures at holidays. I've always been crazy about pictures. I admit it, I am a photo freak. But when the girls get older, the photos are all I'm going to have! Of course you have memories, but the memories come flooding back when you look at the pictures -- what you wore, what you were holding, what the wallpaper looked like back then... Someday Gia and her husband are going to look at that picture and laugh, I promise you. That's my girl, smile through the tough times!
Yes, the girls got lots of presents, but not too many considering there are four of them. They got presents from their grandparents, aunts, and uncles, and they had to share the big ones! What I meant by saying we raise our kids not to be materialistic is that they aren't slaves to the latest fad. They don't beg me for the newest and greatest thing that just came out, because they know they won't get it. I'm not the kind of mom who rushes out to make sure my kid has the first of everything. Gia got an iPod Touch, but only after it had been out for over a year. All her friends got one the year before. She knew she'd have to wait. I want my kids to have that lesson, that they don't just get things immediately. You have to work, do your chores, and wait. I got almost all of their Christmas presents this year at Costco -- Chicco toys for Audriana, the drum set, the Power Wheels. Yes, it was the Mercedes Jeep, but that's the one they sold at Costco last year. I'm sure ten million other kids got it too. They love it!
I loved seeing Christmas at the Lauritas. CJ is so freaking cute! I just love him! And Nicolas too! How adorable were their pajamas with their names on them?
And my gorgeous niece and nephews tearing into their gifts on Christmas morning. Little Joey was so cute... Antonia screaming about her Barbie scooter. I wish I'd gotten to see them open them. We've always opened our gifts together on Christmas Eve, until this year, when my brother and Melissa packed their presents into the car. It makes me so happy to see their little faces light up when they open what we got them. I wanted to see Antonia's reaction to the princess bike we got her. I hope she liked it.
Albert proposing to Caroline at the underpass was so sweet. They should definitely put a plaque up. I bet it would be a tourist attraction.
Victoria and Joseph giving their mom a laptop for Christmas was sweet (although I want to know how much their allowance is! Wow!). My favorite part though was Victoria's letter to her mom. I'm sure nothing meant more to her.
Finally, Albie and Chris were cracking me up preparing for Alexa Ray Joel's concert. Those two are so funny! And yes, Albie, I do think "You want a milk?" might be the worst pick-up line I've ever heard.
Alexa Ray Joel can sing, can't she? I LOVE her voice! When I heard she and Albie were hanging out, I downloaded her song Notice Me on iTunes. The girls and I bounce around to it all the time. She needs to release the one she sang tonight, All I Can Do is Love. Love, love, love!
It was great seeing you all at my book signings this week. I loved that we got to hand out Holy Cannoli Cupcakes at the bakery to everyone waiting in line. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that you come out and see me. I do meet every single person, and it literally makes my week. You guys are the best!