So – more than anything in the world, I love my family. As early as I can remember, I was undoubtedly, most positively sure about two things: 1) I wanted to find my true love and be married to him and live happily ever after, 2) I wanted to have children and experience motherhood. On some level I think that was the impetus behind choices I made and dreams I had, even as a child. I’m blessed – and fortunate to have met my husband Mike at a very early age. By the time I was 15 I knew he was the one. We’ve been married since 1981 and I can’t imagine my life without him. You know when you were a kid, and you’d crush on somebody (hard) and all the feelings that went with it, every time you got near each other, each time you heard his voice or whenever the phone would ring, you’d imagine it was him? I still feel that, whatever that is. When my phone signals a new text, before I look down I know it’s him. His two word text in all lower case letters – simply, “coming home” and I can’t wait to finish whatever I’m doing, open some wine and cook dinner together. It’s kind of our thing ~ we love to make supper together. We take our time. We talk. We taste – and tell each other it’s the best we’ve ever had! LOL! (I know, but like I said, it’s our thing.)
I was raised in a Roman Catholic home and although I’m not a practicing Catholic today, I find myself reaching back – way back when lighting a candle for a loved one meant something. I still burn incense to clear out my space, it brings me comfort. Catechism, communion and confirmation dresses, veils, sacred sculptures on my mom’s bureau, Renaissance art and rosary beads. Love, love it all – every bit of it. Not to mention, my communion dress and veil made a very nice pretend wedding frock and at the age of 5 in the living room and dressed to the nines in white lace, I would marry my make-believe man. So that’s one of the things I dreamed about as a kid. The other was about being a mother. I can’t even tell you how much I wanted that – more than pretty much anything. And when I was young, underneath my covers at night, I’d lay a pillow on my belly and pretend my baby was there.
Mike and I had two babies and being mom to our boys is the greatest joy I’ve ever experienced in my whole life. They’re young men now and leading lives of their own. Our son Josh is a sound artist and lives in California where he creates, composes, and performs. He has traveled the US and Canada and recently premiered his work in Spain and produced an album in Athens, Greece. For now, if there’s even a hint of an inner-travel junkie to be found, I live it vicariously through him. When he’s not home (read: our home in Phoenix) he’s really home in an apartment a few minutes from downtown and close to all the things he loves to do in Los Angeles. Our younger son Michael is a business owner and manages crew in the AV industry. He’s worked everything from corporate shows to Country Thunder. He’s a boss, project manager, cameraman, and a craftsman who loves classic cars and fabricates his own brand of fire arms holsters. He’s married to Katie, who teaches Latin to young students. They met at a very young age too. There’s something special about grade school friendships that turn into something life-changing and powerful. They’re so beautiful together and are making a life for themselves. In December 2015 they had their first – Lila Ruth and just like that, when I thought life couldn’t get sweeter, well, it did. Shortly therafter, in February 2018 Lila’s sister, little Miss Andie Grace was born. We are in awe. Life is beautiful indeed.
Circolo Familiare wouldn’t be complete without at least one story about my parents, Joseph and Florence Molinario.
Aren’t they beautiful together? My dad was the first man I ever loved. My parents met in their mid-twenties and married in 1960. Together they had four girls where I’m second in the bunch. My mom stayed home with us. She took good care of us. She cooked and cleaned and coffee-klatched with neighboring stay-at-home moms. We grew up with friends we called aunt and uncle, and played with kids we called cousins. I imagine it was the kind of life most Italian immigrants hoped and dreamed for their children and that that’s why they made the journey at any cost. My parents were married for 39 years when my dad died unexpectedly. My mom lived without him for sixteen years after. She was an incredibly strong and giving person. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor in mid October 2014. She lived only three months after that. I miss her. They were beautiful together, kind of had their own thing too. They were somewhat traditional, and it worked for them, and probably some of that rubbed off on me.