August 30, 2012
Life is Full of Surprises
My mother wasn’t the smartest person in the world. Don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t stupid, she wasn’t even “not intelligent,” but she would never wow anyone with her fierce intelligence. She wasn’t the funniest person either. She had a sense of humor, but in our family her humor always seemed to be in the background—perhaps because my father was so entertaining.
As I think back on my time with her, there are a lot of things my mother “wasn’t.” But there was one thing she always was, and that’s supportive. She might also have been the most optimistic person I’ve ever known. No matter what happened, no matter how tragic, she would find a way to see a bright side. “There’s always a silver lining,” she used to say. That attitude extended to people also. She never saw the bad in people. When the movie Jaws first came out, my wife joked that my mother would say, “what nice teeth the shark had.”
I took all this with a grain of salt, often finding it difficult to buy into my mother’s philosophy. I found it particularly difficult a few years ago when my youngest son almost died from drugs. He spent weeks in the ICU, was almost dead, life ruined, and to top it off my wife and I had to find some way to get him cured.
When he was physically able, we put him in a rehab center. Let me tell you, if anyone had mentioned silver lining to me at that time, I think I’d have hit them. It was plain and simple—there was no silver lining here.
Two months after going into treatment, we saw hope. Not a bright shining light. Not a sunny day at the beach. But a glimmer. He seemed to be taking to rehab and buying into the program. Six months later, he was working at a center and helping to manage a halfway house. Within a year, he was running a new rehab facility. Shortly afterwards he met a wonderful woman—Kristan.
It has been three years almost to the day since we checked Tony into the rehab center. And three weeks ago, he and Kristan blessed us with a new granddaughter—Adalina Sofia Giammatteo.
I met Adalina a few hours after she came into this world. She’s got a full head of dark hair and Kristan’s long legs (a promising sign for our family) and she seems to have an appetite that won’t quit. I don’t know much more about Adalina yet, but one thing I do know. We wouldn’t have her if Tony hadn’t gone into rehab. If he hadn’t done that, he wouldn’t have met Kristan.
It’s taken three years, but I see now that my mother was right—there is always a silver lining.
Ciao, and thanks for listening,