I learned an important lesson by surviving my rather neurotic childhood…accept how I got here, love who I am now and look forward to who I’m going to be.
However, it was not an easy journey…And I’ll tell you how I got here…
Let me introduce you to my father Philip, who was a loud, opinionated French Canadian…and a total hypochondriac.
The entire family is made up of hypochondriacs. Something always going on, something always happening, somebody always dying…well they’re all dead now so I guess something really was wrong with them.
I grew up in a house with a walk-in medicine closet…we even had cough syrup on tap.
And I never saw my father that he wasn’t checking his pulse and asking me, “Does this mole look like cancer to you?
And he was very paranoid, he didn’t trust anyone…always had his eyes on you…
So I was surprised one year when he offered to take my brother, our friend Richard and me…to the store to see the Easter Bunny.
We were so excited! Here was our chance to meet the bunny who brought us our baskets every year. We would get a chance to thank him for the chocolate bunnies the little egg candies and marshmallow peeps.
We would get a chance to get up close and personal with the man himself!
So we get to the store and there he is! Sitting in a big white fluffy chair, in a flowered vest and top hat, big pink ears sticking out, oh I was so excited!
The store was full of people and there was even a photographer from the local newspaper there…this was it…this was my moment with the Easter Bunny!
Then I noticed that Daddy was getting kind of antsy…then I realized what are we doing here? My father didn’t trust anyone, esp someone who was wearing a mask or a costume. He didn’t trust someone who in his words…was “hiding” something.
You know, like the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus or Batman.
Even Superheroes, he said, had a hidden agenda and they were not to be trusted!
However we were there and suddenly, the bunny looked right at me…he tapped his leg for me to sit on his lap… held out his arms for me to give him a hug…So in slow motion…I slowly made my way into the arms of the candy man of my dreams…
When suddenly, out of nowhere, my father pushed me out of the way…and said…“Get away from him! You don’t know who’s under that costume….let Richard sit there!”
Poor Richard, he’s still in therapy….and I probably should be…
Now, Daddy was very proud of his French heritage, as am I, and when I was a child, he tried to teach me to speak French but he said I was hopeless because I spoke French with an Italian accent.
This insulted him. He said, “Lisa I don’t understand what you are doing. Nowhere on either side of your family are you Italian. I am French Canadian, your mother is French and Cherokee, you are a French kid why are speaking Italian?
I said, (in an Italian accent) “I don’t know…scuzi…Senor.”
Well, he never let me forget that day…And he made me feel so guilty about not knowing another language so last year when I turned 49, I decided it was time. It was time to learn the language of my people, to learn the language of the people I embrace, to get the dialect down, to speak a foreign language with perfection. I was going to show my father who passed away in 1986 that I was not hopeless when it came to learning a foreign language.
So now, I can speak Italian.
So that’s how I grew up and hey, none of us are perfect and if we try to find perfection in everyone we meet, we’re gonna miss out on a lot of good relationships.
If we blame our families for our own imperfections, man we’re missing the point.
Yeah, my family was nutty…so what…I was loved and I grew up on a farm with mud pies, Barbie dolls, tire swings and a feeling of being special.
My father always told me that I could be anything that I wanted to be in this world and that I would succeed at anything I wanted to be in this world. He believed in me and that made me believe in myself.
Yeah he shot a chicken off my mother’s head when I was six years old maybe he thought it was the Easter Bunny, I don‘t know…
But when you realize you can’t fix people you can’t rescue them and you sure as heck can‘t change people…you have no choice but to let go of the reins, give up control and just accept them for who they are…
Trust me…it will set you free.