Here he is as a little boy in Milwaukee. Isn't he cute?
One memory that Ethel reminded me of is a small incident of tough love from childhood that has served me well all my life.
My Dad, a full blooded Italian--though American born, had a big heart, loved hugs and was occasionally prone to tears. But, when need be, he could be tough.
So, there I was standing near the check out at the local drug store staring at a large rack of candy bars. Dad had said we three kids could each pick out a candy bar. This was not a regular thing, though Dad had a soft spot for sweets. Candy was usually reserved for Halloween, Easter and Christmas. But, for whatever reason, he said we could pick one out. My brother and sister quickly grabbed their favorites, but I was stuck. The Hershey bar or the Nestle's Crunch? Or maybe a Snickers? Special Dark or Milk Chocolate? Wait...maybe M&M's.
This indecision went on so long, and with so many threats to "Hurry up!" that my Dad finally said "That's it! No candy bar for you!" and he checked out without my candy choice.
I am sure I cried. Sweets
I have often thought about this memory when life's little decisions become difficult, everything from "Whats for dinner?" to "Do I make a doctor appointment about this?". I can't claim to be a great decision maker--after all, down deep I am still the same kid who couldn't choose a candy bar--but the little hard lesson early on reminds me that indecision comes with consequences. Real life consequences. Sometimes you just have to move forward no matter how unsure you are.
And it also gives me hope that those things that I nag my kids about, the ones that I think they will never get, may just sink in enough to serve them well someday when they are on their own.