The Importance of Family

posted in: Family | 26

Holding Hands

Twenty-eight years ago, when I was in graduate school, I wrote a paper about the role my family played in establishing the values I had developed throughout my life.  In going through some old files, I found this paper, and in reading it after all these years, I am amazed how accurate and true to life those words are today. When I wrote this, I was working full-time as a critical care nurse, married, and my two sons were in college. Here are a few excerpts.

“One of the values I have always considered most important is the sense of fidelity and commitment. This began with my grandparents, whose marriages were arranged in Italy by their families. So, the value of the importance of a closely-knit family has always been a major presence in my life. The sense of responsibility is deeply ingrained from my family background. Here again, I have learned that responsibility to family, especially to immediate family (parents and children), is very important to me. Another value which grew out of this sense of responsibility is the sense of caretaking and nurturance. Both of my grandmothers lived with us near the end of their lives, and were cared for by their children. My mother, being at home, had the largest part of the responsibility, the way I perceived it. It is interesting to note that her mother, who was orphaned at the age of fourteen, took on the responsibility of raising her two brothers and her sister in Italy. I’m wondering now how much this part of my background affected my decision to become a nurse, something I wanted since I was six years old, and now, also a counselor, two of the so-called “helping professions.

“Since all my siblings are brothers, and I am the only girl in my immediate family, I feel a stronger sense of responsibility, to be the one to take care of my parents, when they are older and cannot care for themselves. I’ve always seen the women in my family to be there to take care of things.

“Both my parents provided the encouragement for myself and my brothers to become educated, and always the emphasis was on being happy, in the careers we chose. This has always been a significant factor in further choices I have made, that being not to sacrifice happiness for less important things, such as money, status, or material things.

“I am fortunate not to have experienced in my life meanness and ugliness in the forms of abuse and lack of love. I don’t think I realized until I became an adult how lucky I am to have grown up feeling wanted and loved. My family is very important to me, and I hope I have a lot more years to enjoy them.”

Mom and Dad

As many of you know, I have been blessed to have my parents all these years. They recently celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary, and are the best examples of a loving relationship I know. They dress alike and do everything together. They are now 94 and 95, and my dad has been taking good care of my mom these past couple of years. I was amazed he could do it but he insisted he was managing.

Three weeks ago, my dad called me and told me he had come to a conclusion. He was done driving and he decided it was time they leave their home in Naples and come to live with me. I know that had to be a hard decision, but he knew this was always an option, when the day came.

Dad on Computer

So now they are here with me and we are settling in. Me, Richard, Mom, and Dad. My goal was for them to be safe and happy, and so far, it seems to be working.

Those words I wrote so long ago were true then and are true today. Family is everything, and although life will change a lot now, I consider it a blessing to have them here. It’s great to hear them laughing again without the stress of trying to live independently and trying to help each other, when their health made it impossible. In my Dad’s own words, “I can’t hack it anymore.”

Mom and Dad eating chocolate

I am so grateful he made the decision himself and my mom is happy too. Not everyone has a loving family, or the ability to count on family in times like this. I am fortunate to be retired and have space in my home, and have Richard as a loving and supportive partner.

Mom and Dad reading

Family is more important than anything else and there is no guarantee how long your family will be here. In the meantime, I hope to make use of the time together in every way I know how. Both my parents took great care of me as I grew up, and now it’s my turn to take great care of them. I may be writing more stories about them as I find humor in some of the things they say and do. Stay tuned.

 

I’m always interested in your feedback, so please leave a comment.

Have you checked out my books on Italy or my two novels yet? Learn more here: Books by Margie Miklas

26 Responses

  1. Margie, I have loved, loved, loved reading this!!!! Your revisit with your writing in college all those years ago… and your history… and the lovely photos showing teh warmth and love in your Mom and Dad’s eyes… this is so delightful and heart-warming! Such a treasure your Mom and Dad are! and You and Richard are a true treasure too! Sending love and gosh…. so many daily blessings.. they all really are lil miracles aren’t they, Margie?

    • margieinitaly

      Aww, thank you Jill. I am so glad you liked my story. Yes, blessings are all around. I love them and appreciate having this special time together.

  2. Your parents are absolutely adorable. Enjoy each other while you can! Ciao, Cristina

  3. What a wonderful family and such a nice telling of your personal story. Enjoy your time together and those chocolates!

    • margieinitaly

      Thanks Karen. Chocolates are very big with them, and fortunately they can afford to put on some weight. Glad you liked the story. Thanks for taking time to read and comment. And good luck with your newest book, too!

  4. MARILYN ROMEO'

    After reading your email, I find there is little else to say. The generations of family have proved how important a loving family is to each of us.
    I have known and loved these beautiful people for 83 years. Art Longano is my Mothers beloved “Baby Brother” and so my sister, Gloria Walsh and I have been lucky enough to have had Aunt Phyllis and Uncle Art in our lives.
    We also were lucky to have time with them in Ohio and together in Naples.,
    They are, hands down, the kindest people ever,……..always giving their time to others through their church and volunteering in their community.
    I am happy they are with you in your beautiful home, Margie, a blessing for them and a blessing for you and Richard.
    I love you all, Cousin…….

    Marilyn Cameli Romeo

    • margieinitaly

      Thank you so much, Marilyn. Yes, as my cousin, you know first hand what wonderful family all of us have been fortunate enough to have. You Mom was a gem and your dad always made me laugh too.I remember her beautiful smile, and your dad’s great sense of humor.

  5. Anonymous

    Always good to hear about family.Love to all Aunt Gerry

  6. Bonnie Davis

    I have known Margie for far more than 28 years. I am not at all surprised to read this post. That is Margie through and through. I think I love her family a great deal more than she knows. It is the great real life proof of what responsibility and never flagging love can produce. Margie and her family are terrific and the world should know it.

    • margieinitaly

      Thanks for your kind words, Bonnie. By now, I know you feel like you know my family because you’ve heard so much about them through the years. I realize how fortunate I am to have them still.

  7. Pamela Carey

    This is so reminiscent of the story of my parents and their move to Florida, where I could oversee their well-being! I wrote the story of their quirks and foibles and now have the wonderful memories of our last ten years together. My advice, Margie, is to enjoy every moment and take care of yourself, too, since their health will be dependent on yours. My book is titled Elderly Parents with All Their Marbles: A Survival Guide for the Kids and it won a gold medal in 2015. Keep us posted! http://Www.parentswithmarbles.com

    • margieinitaly

      Pam, Thank you…Your ears must be ringing because I have thought of you often these past few weeks and even got your book out to read some of your tips. I didn’t know how much I’d need that book when we first met at the Florida Writers Conference and both won awards in 2014. You have great advice.

  8. Rick Longano

    Really nice to read this, Margie. As one of your brothers, I have always seen these personality traits in you, and admire you greatly for them. Mom and Dad did a great job raising their kids, and it is evident in your actions now. We are all fortunate to have you as a sister, and Mom and Dad are fortunate to have you as their one and only daughter.

    • margieinitaly

      Thank you Rick. I am so honored you read my blog post and took time to leave a comment. We did grow up having good parents who loved us and each day I appreciate our family more and more.

  9. Diane Kosmalski

    Your beautiful story touched my heart. You are all so very lucky to have each other. Helping each other is what life is all about. People travel, see the world and experience many things but there is nothing like the love and care of people we love. Best regards to all of you.

    • margieinitaly

      Thank you very much, Diane. I appreciate your kind words. It is true…Family is important and thst love cannot be replaced by material things.

  10. Margie, we met at the Italian festival in Florida one year when you we’re promoting one of your books. At that time it was evident that you were a very caring person. I too was in a “helping” profession so I guess I was in tune to the kind of person you are when we talked about our love for everything Italian. God bless you for being such a kind and caring person. You have made many people happy with your books and now your parents for being there for them. Blessings to all of you. Your parents have done a wonderful job! You deserve every happiness..

    • margieinitaly

      I remember meeting you Barbara, and yes, we do have much in common. Thanks so much for sharing your kind words and taking the time.

  11. Gloria Cameli Walsh

    So much rings true Margie especially in ethnic homes where love and traditions never die. So many things become clear on who parents are when they Are gone and the memories set in. An understanding of why they did the things they did in their everyday life and you find yourself doing the same things with a chuckle. I think I will start writing about this blessing I have had in my life also even and leave the stories for my children! It is never too late!! I have wonderful caring kids, another blessing and they constantly talk about their own memories of their grandpa and grandma. I have always been sad that we didn’t live in the times when families stayed in the same neighborhoods for life!
    Love to you and yours❤️❤️❤️

    • margieinitaly

      This is a wonderful observation, Gloria. Thank you so much for sharing. And I encourage you to write! I know you have much to say!

  12. What a wonderful story! Your parents are truly special. And I am sure they are glad that you love and appreciate them in return!

  13. You are very lucky to have a loving family, not everyone has this. What a privilege to still have your parents and to be able to take care of them as they did for you. Well done Margie!

I'm always interested in your thoughts, so please leave a comment.