When I moved home to Albany from South Carolina the biggest reason behind it was family. I was sick of missing the little things. Family dinners, holiday cook outs, cousins birthday parties, and much more. Of course, along with that, I wanted to be here for the big things. Being home allowed me to be a part of the planning process for my brother’s wedding on New Years Eve. That’s an experience I will always appreciate. People always say, take the good with the bad. With so much good, I wasn’t necessarily prepared for the “bad”, but it’s all in God’s hands right? On Thursday night, God decided it was my great aunt’s time to leave us.
I saw my Aunt Connie a lot growing up. Her husband was my grandmother’s brother and they spent a lot of time at her house. I think something my entire family will remember about my aunt and uncle is their generosity. I saw them almost every Sunday, and on almost every Sunday each of them would find a way to slip me five or 10 bucks before I left my grandma’s house. It was then usually followed up by “grab yourself an ice cream” or “buy yourself a slice of pizza”...typical Italian family always having food on the brain. As a kid at 10 or 11 years old, getting 10 dollars to spend on whatever you wanted was like hitting the lottery. I can’t tell you what I ever ended up buying with the money, but I can tell you that looking back now that money meant a lot more than some ice cream or pizza.
Aunt Connie was a woman of many traits and talents. Today I learned that she loved to draw and write. It really got me thinking how I spent so much time with her over the past 24 years of my life, and I even went to college for writing and communications, and I never once talked to her about that particular passion of mine. To hear that she wrote memoirs and short stories really got me to thinking where I want to take my writing. My cousin Randy even shared a very special memory that I thought those of you who have attended college and had to write a lengthy term paper would appreciate. During his freshman or sophomore year at Siena, Randy was taking one of two mandatory religion classes. He went to have dinner with my Aunt Connie and when she asked him how college was going, he told her how he had to write a term paper on baptism and went into a little bit more detail on what exactly he had to write about. That Friday, Aunt Connie called Randy and simply said “your term paper is done.” When Randy went over the next day to figure out what she was talking about, she had written an eight page, single-spaced, handwritten term paper on baptism for him. That’s a college kids dream!The point is, I think sometimes we underestimate what people in our world are capable of. I’m not saying Aunt Connie wasn’t talented, but did I think at around the age of 70 she’d be writing an eight page college paper? Definitely never crossed my mind.
I’m writing this blog just hours after we buried her and heard the stories of her life. As my brother and I drove to the grave site, it had us talking about what a legacy she left behind. My brother said something that stuck with me. He said, “Aunt Connie left us knowing she created a beautiful and successful family. It makes me wonder what I’ll leave behind one day.” Aunt Connie left behind so much good. I know when I joined the Twill team I wanted to create more of that “good” in our community. Sometimes we get so caught up in our day-to-day lives that we forget to take a step back from it all and really appreciate the little things. For us as a Twill team, I don’t think we give our partners enough credit. All their special traits and talents help us grow, and with that growth comes more giving to the people that need it most.