Saturday, October 10, 2009

Los Gatos & Chosen Family

So this is my Charming, Gracious and Lovely. She was my stepmother from the time I was five until I was around 16. She and I have continued to be close by choice since she and my dad divorced. Doesn't she look great for closing in on 60?
Anthony and I just flew up to Los Gatos (via San Jose) to visit her, as she lives in Miami. She was in Los Gatos for her 40th high school reunion. We spent time with her and her sister Francesca. Such a great visit! Not only does she look amazing, but she still has such a vibrant spirit, love of a good time and a warm way with people. She and her long term companion Nick travel all over the world. This blog post is dedicated to her and the impact she had on my life. She taught me some incredibly valuable lessons - the power of reading, the simple joy of life, the enduring friendships and how to be in someones life without controlling their life. Her parents also had an impact on my childhood. "Mi abuelita" (Mary Alice) spoke five languages and was the most amazing family cook (other than my mom) who has ever influenced my life. I can still taste and smell her homemade Sicilian pizza that she made for the family. She loved food and loved cards.
Barbara also taught me the value of making your own choices. She also was driven by a relentless sense of integrity. She was the last parent I told I was gay (1993) and I burst out laughing, when, after I told her, her reply was: "Thank God, you finally came out to yourself! I knew you were gay from the day in first grade when you insisted on having your hot dogs in your lunch cut into perfect rounds with a single dollop of squirter cheese and ketchup on each one that any child who had to have Hors d'Ĺ“uvre for lunch had to be gay." To this day, I am blessed to have her in my life.
From a business perspective, she has been the torch bearer for the idea of independence. She believes in it deeply and she helped carve the idea to remain independent of others support as much as possible - not that we don't all need help, but we should be accountable for our lives and our choices. Thanks bunny!

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