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Margaret Josephs: Family Ties and the Ties that Blind
"Siggy’s disdain for me runs very deep."
Another week, another breakdown. And this one was mine.
This week was all about family, and you saw how everyone faces their own struggles and navigates within their own family dynamics. Family is sometimes hard work, and it’s definitely always a work in progress. Life’s journey doesn’t come with a road map, and there are pitfalls at every turn that no one can plan for.
I love my mom so very much (even though she makes me nuts on a daily basis), and I’m so happy you are getting to know her better, too. As usual, Marge Sr. made an entrance, en pointe, in all her #bitchstolemylook glory…She’s the original glamour girl, and you can’t imagine how “interesting” it was to grow up with this one. (For the record, she actually did steal my tassel earrings…and I think she pulls them off better than me, so I’ll let this one slide.) ALSO, can we please take a moment to acknowledge that her car has eyelashes? Did you notice? Marge Sr.’s Mini Cooper has fuller eyelashes than both of us put together. It’s kind of ridiculous, but kind of adorable. That’s classic Marge Sr. We have a great relationship now, but sometimes it was a bit One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. She’s only 20 years older than me, and it wasn’t always clear just who was raising who. Let me just say this: the dynamics never changed! Parents are a beautiful thing, and I really can’t say it enough—Marge Sr. is a piece of work, and a lot of work, but a beautiful blessing.
How great was it to see Teresa enjoying time with Papa Gorga? Seeing the Gorga girls and their patriarch in Puerto Rico was so sweet—made me miss vacation time. Teresa knows what she’s doing. Making memories with family and, specifically with grandparents, is such a treasure. Memories are so important to make; no one can take those away. As everyone grows up, those are the things that live on. Her brother Joe is doing the same with his beautiful daughter. Joe Gorga on a trampoline was absolutely adorable and made me chuckle like a crazy woman. Almost as adorable as the moment when Antonia kisses him on the cheek and it hits him: Time flies, and she’s growing up fast.
Speaking of “time,” you hear me say in this episode, “They say time heals all wounds—well it doesn’t,” and that statement is so true. I never called my kids my stepkids. To me they are my children. Being a stepmother was so wonderful and came so naturally to me. It was the most amazing love I had ever felt that was only crowned by the addition of my own son to the mix. Jan and I had a great family but, like happens to so many couples, not a great marriage. We were separated for some time but continuing to live together gave some a lot to talk about, and once we agreed to divorce, the public news of our separation was shocking to so many. That’s why I can appreciate how easy it is to look at couples, families, relationships from the outside and judge what you see. It might look like peaches and cream, but even on a good day, it could be a bowl of sour cherries. That's why I don’t judge others’ relationships or compare other people’s lives to either mine or anyone else’s.
I was glad I was heard by Dolores that day. I empathized with her, and I realize that she’s not had the most fabulous life with the most fabulous relationships—she’s been a resilient, amazing mother, and has been a strong friend to many. I’m glad Dolores and I bonded that day, and I’m thankful we connected and established a mutual respect. It was a little disappointing to see Siggy struggle with seeing Dolores show some compassion to her arch nemesis, The Marge. Turns out I have a few layers and some dimension after all and she wasn’t happy to see Dolores, of all people, break the news. Of course, Siggy the Narcissist had to turn it around into something reflective about her—comparing me feeling heartbroken over a broken family to her falling apart over a flying cake. I mean…sadly, it seems that no matter what, Siggy’s disdain for me runs very deep. I could understand this kind of hatred if I had maliciously attacked her or truly come for her in some meaningful way. As I see it, I weighed in on a topic she brought to the table; I coined a pet name that most would find hilarious, “Soggy Flicker;” and I called her out on some boorish behavior I would want brought to my attention if I was the one making a fool of myself.
It all just seems so irrational, doesn’t it? It’s baffling to me and, I’ll admit, a little entertaining, because I can’t honestly believe it’s all real. It’s so theatrical and so obsessive and absolute, it almost feels like a prank at times. I mean, I’ve moved on with many relationships that have endured way worse than this nonsense. From cheeky nicknames and poking fun, to me breaking down and showing the deep pain I feel from having a strained relationship with my children, she somehow always manages to bring it back to her. Like I said at Gorga’s: it’s draining—insanely draining. The tears I shed are from real issues that have caused real pain. I’ve never met a pastry chef worth a faceful of tears. And as you may have guessed, I’ve never cried over a cake. I’ve cried over a mushroom risotto because it was surreal but never met a pastry that’s brought me to the brink of ocular meltdown or heartbreak. My heart is quite simply broken, and no amount of time can heal that. Those are years lost, memories missed, and moments passed I won’t ever get back. Every day I continue to work on those relationships with the clear intent to heal the wounds and get to a good place again. Thankfully, it’s a work in progress.
I guess we’ll see next week, at the retreat, if some kumbaya and pillow fights can fix this ever-broiling feud or if I should really take Joe’s advice and sleep with one eye open.
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