“I can’t quite figure why she’s always mad at me?”

I asked my husband with true perplexity.

“I know she helped me so much.”

My older sister, by 22 months, gave me a place to stay when I graduated college. I could only last 1 year at my parent’s house before things get so bad I wasn’t sure I wanted to exist any longer. She got me into therapy when I wasn’t able to breathe without crying.

“Honestly, I feel like I have spent the last 20 years trying to repay all the kindness she showed me.”

“Adriana,” my husband said a sweet, kind tone, “your relationship with your sister isn’t a quid pro quo. She shouldn’t expect anything in return”

Hmmmm. I thought about what my husband said. The buzz phrase of today, quid pro quo, isn’t how relationships with your family are supposed to be?

When my mother’s mood swings become so bad I locked myself in the bathroom to give her some time.

I remember asking her a few days later “don’t you love me no matter what. In America they call it unconditional love”

“Adriana, you expect me to love you when you are wrong or do something bad? That’s not how it works.”

I thought about what she said. Such a different message then my American friends parents.

I breathe in not sure how to breathe out.

i am a first generation italian-american who grew up in southern new jersey. Life is amazingly beautiful and devastating. Sometimes in the same day.

i am a first generation italian-american who grew up in southern new jersey. Life is amazingly beautiful and devastating. Sometimes in the same day.