up hill both ways.

i imagine sometimes what it would be like to have grown up in someone else's family. not because i didn't love mine, but because i've always had a fascination with sociology and what things cause people to curb some behaviors and ignite others.

in my family it was love fiercely, support one another, and eat italian. if whatever you were chasing didn't fall in to at lease one (preferably 2-3) of the preceding categories, it was a risky sitch. for my 16th birthday, my then-boyfriend took me to see a spanish play (close enough) and an italian dinner. done and done.

some of my fondest memories are of my mom and i dipping freshly baked french bread in her homemade marinara sauce…for dinner. my mom was generally far too practical to call anything without 3 major food groups "dinner", but she'd make an exception for homemade italian.

then there was my dad. he and my mom were like oil and water. i'm certain the reason they were married was because she was beautiful and smart and he could sell ice to an eskimo. his idea of discipline was to send me to my room and follow up with a short chat.

"don't let anyone tell you to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. you figure out what you need to do and then go do it."

"always peel garlic with rubber gloves."

"the most important thing on a sunday is football. i don't need to go to church to have someone tell me i'm a Christian. i have God for that."

there were hundreds of lines. each sounded like he plucked it from a movie he'd once seen and filed it away to use at a later date. occasionally i'll find myself using one of dad's lines, as if it were woven in to my DNA.

"the secret to life," he'd say shaking his index finger like Marlon Brando in The Godfather, "is this." and then he would pause. he'd hold his finger up, raise his left eyebrow, and smile cleverly as i waited to hear the answer to the most complex of human problems.

"discover what you love to do, and then figure out how to make a living doing it."

at 4:30 this afternoon, as i loaded the kids in the car bound for a bar-b-que, i paused loading up their bikes. it was one of those moments. where you know you're exactly where you're supposed to be, doing exactly what you're supposed to be doing. i was relaxed. rejuvenated, even. and i realized that i'd finally figured it out. the secret to my life.

i had actually figured it out years ago, but in true Amanda fashion i had to beat the idea to death until i was certain.

produce creative strategies in a professional setting whereby loving on my family does not become a compromise.