The greatest gift you can give your kids is a family connection of people who are the builders character. These connections provide a security and confidence that helps drive a strong moral foundation. This strong moral base will enable your children to consistently be aware of right and wrong while making it nearly impossible to excuse wrong behavior. They may choose to do the wrong thing but will be unable to convince themselves it is right. That assuredness will guide them, I am sure of it.
So tonight I write about 2 such people in our life. Both have passed but I tell you about these special people because we keep them in our family constantly and they continue to be teachers for our children.
Aunt Catherine passed 13 years ago almost to the date. She was such a classy, brassy lady. Growing up we idolized her and everytime she visited from Jersey it was a party that never stopped. She was opinionated and faithful. She was fiercely proud and loyal to her family. If you didn't like it? Too bad. I can remember her talking about her faith and challenging priests about not being strong leaders. Most people are too fearful and insecure to speak up to people, especially Catholic priests. But, not Aunt Catherine. To this day that example makes me confident in questioning my own priests and working everyday to ensure my faith is on the right path. Plus, she also cursed like crazy but it was never vulgar. It made sense and sounded right. For those that know me, really know me...i got that too!
Then, there is dziadzi. My grandpa who died 2 years ago. He was the best. He had a way of making everything fun. He was sneaky and hilarious. He was a devoted husband to a fault :) and was the best grandpa. He taught me to be proud of who I am. He would get so frustrated when we talked about our Irish heritage, reminding us of our polish roots. It used to annoy me but as the years went on the beauty of that lesson was powerful. Accepting all the parts that make up you and doing it proudly. Thats what dziadzi taught me. He also prayed a rosary everyday and really believed in the power of prayer. He had an extraordinary faith I only wish to live up to. He made me feel so confident in who I was. Being around dziadzi made me happy.
This post has moved away from family fun but, I thought it was important to include. These family bonds are essential for our family. They allow Shawn and I to know that even if we screw up this parenting thing there are many people waiting in the wings to cheer us on and help us out. Family who never judge, give opinions when asked and are the best cheerleaders we could ask for. Having that is the best piece of parenting advice I can give. It is essential to your family's success. Miss you dziadzi and aunt catherine!