Monday, March 27, 2017

Stef's Female Friendships - My Early Childhood Family Friends: Mom and Ea, and Cyndi

Let's kick off the final week of Women's History Month with my female friendship series. I'll start this year's series off with the first two women in my life, my mom Lucille and my Aunt Ea, or simply, Ea. Her real name is Maria, but as a kid I struggled to say it, so my Grandma Mary suggested that it be shortened to just "Ea" and it stuck. I still call her that to this day and now my teenage cousin, her nephew Michael, the son of the late Veronica "Roni," calls her the same.

l-r: Ea, Me, and Mom
My Mom and Ea are sisters and are both 100% Italian American, so they definitely contributed to my Italian culture pride. FYI, I'm not Italian at all on my father's side, hence my last name.

My mom is entirely the best. I love her so much. I mean, sure like any mother and daughter (especially Italian American ones) we have our disagreements, but we have such a wonderful relationship. I'm an only child, so I tend to hang out with my parents a lot and my mom and I share mutual interests. She enjoys going to see theater and movies with me and lately we've been coloring and exercising together. Another favorite mother/daughter activity we enjoy is going out to eat for appetizers and Coors Light beer lol. I am so grateful to have such a great mom. She's my best friend and we're constantly laughing together. Quite frequently we are mistaken for sisters (she loves that lol). She is always there for me and is alway proud of my writing and encouraging me to heighten my self-esteem. I love her so very much and my friends love her too.

Then there is who I call my second mom, my Aunt Ea. Ea was my designated babysitter along with my two grandmothers before they passed away, so I have plenty of memories with her. Where do I start? lol

When I was a child, she was my built in playmate, often taking part in homemade plays with me. She often says that even though I no longer really play with toys anymore, now she can spend time with me in other ways. Normally when I talk or blog about Paper Mill Playhouse shows, I see them with her. See? There is clearly a theme. No matter what the age, we often go out to eat together. lol Sometimes we even cook together. :)

Ea watched me grow up and was always there for birthdays and other big events. I may call her my second mom, but she is also my official godmother, assigned at my Baptism, so therefore she makes sure to instill Catholic teachings into Michael (her godson) and myself consistently. Her house is also my second home. My family has dinner there (it always smells good) and I sometimes sleep over there too. I attribute to Ea plenty of lifetime recollections. I love her. :)

Cyndi (on the left) and I at my miniature dachshund
Jeffrey's birthday party that I threw for him. lol
Because I grew up an only child and only have male cousins (Michael on my mom's side, Chuckie and Jimmy on my dad's), I did not really have any female relationships my age during my initial years of life. Then I remembered that Cyndi, my neighbor, was there to fill that void. Cyndi herself has two older brothers and became, I guess you could say, my surrogate sister.

When my parents moved in, they befriended the couple across the street. Eventually both my mom and Cyndi's mom were expecting at the same time. Cyndi was born in late August and then I came around early November. Cyndi's father said that we could hang out until we eventually made our own friends and we did just that. It was easy to hang out because we lived right across the street from each other. She would come over my house and I would go over hers, but most of the time our conversations consisted of us shouting at each other from our opposite lawns. :P

Cyndi's father's prediction ultimately came true. We went our separate ways as we got older, her becoming an athlete and me becoming the artsy fartsy you know and love. However, we still talk. :) We still live in the same houses, greet each other, and chat about our professional lives and her latest activities with Pokemon Go and roller derby.

Despite our differing interests, it's nice to have her there. :)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Real Influential Women Role Models (Real and Fictitious) Stef's Female Friendships Women's History Month Project

This Women's History Month I am going to do something extra special. For my series "Real Influential Women Role Models (Real and Fictitious)" in the past, I have written about fictional female characters and the occasional celebrities and historical figures who I feel exhibit characteristics of the strong woman. I also spotlighted several female TV show cast of characters that compose the nature of their particular shows. Now I am planning something completely different.

This Women's History Month, I decided to write blog posts focusing on the various groups of women who have shaped me, from family members to friendships I have made during my different stages of life. I've noticed that I have individual groups of friends that each has its own title depending on our friendship's theme. So throughout this month (the plan is weekly), I am going to share stories about my friends and how they have each contributed to my life and continue to do so. :)

I'm very excited about these heartwarming installments. Stay tuned!

Happy Women's History Month! :D

(Edit: These might take a while longer because I'm realizing that I may want to include some more photos that I need to find, but I will do my best to deliver these throughout the month, even if it may go into April.)

(Edit: March 16, 11:30 AM: I might save all of these for the final two weeks of March. :) )