Some people say that nothing compares to family, but in my case, nothing compares to a big, fat Italian family! I absolutely love everything that comes with being Italian, especially the incredible family members that I am surrounded with. I don't know if anyone else would consider their family their best friends, but I do. Honestly, the benefits that come with being a member of an Italian family are endless, but for the sake of time here are just a few of the standouts.
1. The 'more the merrier' saying turns into a reality
I don't think anybody does Christmas like my big, fat, Italian family does Christmas. Celebrating the holidays is always the highlight of our year. But belting Christmas carols, playing grab bag, and eating a delicious meal will never out-do the joy that comes with just simply being all together during this time of year.
2. Absolutely nothing compares to the food
If you're Italian, you know what I'm talking about and if you're not, I feel bad for you. In our culture, the kitchen is sacred and there is nobody who has perfected authentic Italian cuisine like my Mom and my Grandma. Meatballs, lasagna, baked ziti, cannolis, cheesecake - you name it! No matter what the event, you can always count on a delicious, homemade, seven course meal prepared with nothing but love from my family... and always with plenty of leftovers.
3. Receiving advice from all generations
If you know anything about Italians, you probably know that they tell it like it is. Well, this has proven to be one incredible perk of being part of a big Italian family because I am never short of advice, from anyone! Yes, my grandparents shower me with love, but they also provide me with endless wisdom from their life experiences that is truly incomparable to anything I could learn in the classroom.
4. You know that blood is thicker than water
One of the first things you learn as a member of an Italian family is that blood is thicker than water. What this basically means is that nothing is as important or should come between you and your family. This saying might seem a bit silly, but it really is what fuels the unbreakable relationships in my family. No matter what happens, there is nothing that can get between us and that is because we were taught early on that... blood is thicker than water!
5. Extended family members are just like extra sets of parents
I have never felt uncomfortable being with my extended family, in fact, I always felt right at home at any of my aunts and uncles houses because they were basically an extra set of parents. I was lucky enough to spend weekends in the snow in Vermont with my Uncle Rudy and Aunt Maggie, explore the Grand Canyon in Arizona with my uncle Mark and aunt Laura, and catch my first fish on the Jersey Shore with my Uncle Pat and Aunt Ellen. I had it all. Honestly, it was the whole saying goodbye part that always got to me.
6. You developed a taste for wine before you were 7
I have to thank my Grandma for this one! Visits with Grandma and Grandpa were always my favorite. It could have been the fact that I had endless toys waiting for me upon my arrival, but even more likely because I was always served a tiny glass of wine with my dinner. I was taught to sip my tiny wine slowly because it was an Italian delicacy and after all these years the lesson has definitely stuck with me because my appreciation for wine has continued to grow since my first taste at age 7.
7. Endless love and support
Yes the food is great, and the parties are fun, but absolutely nothing compares to the love and support that is shared in my big, fat Italian family and that's what I love most. It doesn't matter who it is, or how long its been since you've seen them, every single family member is always welcomed with open arms (and a big kiss on the cheek!) It's almost like having a countless number of friends, except ten times better!
There is never a time when you are without a helping hand or someone to talk to when things go wrong. When you're part of a big Italian family you always feel the comfort of knowing that you will never be alone and that is of immeasurable worth.