29. Mi Familia

His hands are rough from years of hard labor. His tanned skin scarred, telling the story of tools slipping, branches snapping, and equipment falling. At night his cheeks are prickly, but during the day they are smooth. Although he stands on short legs at only 5’7″, he can intimidate someone twice his size.
He’s stern with his employees, but also caring when they are going through troubling times. That’s how he’s always been. Stern when he needs to be, but deep down always caring for the well-being of others.
His hazel eyes are sweet and express many things. Devotion to his wife of 34 years. Love for his four children, the spouses they’ve brought in, and the grandchildren they’ve given him. Interest in those around him, even those he only met five seconds earlier.
I may be twenty-five years old, but he will always be my daddy. The man who taught me without saying a word how a man should treat me. The man who led the example, without realizing it, of what ambition and drive look like. He’s many things to many people, but he’ll always be a husband and father first.

She’s a spitfire. A redhead with determination. Her hair is red, with flecks of copper appearing in the summer and traces of brown in the winter. Her skin is soft from lotions and creams she has used for many years. She has a beautiful smile, the kind that makes you want to smile too even if you’re upset. Her hands are soft, but show the wear of 50 years spent cleaning and doing yard work. Barely visible scars leave traces of thorn bushes, pearing knives, and fallen branches. Her legs are rarely free of bruises. Her thin pale skin bruising at smallest bump.
She has a big heart and avoids confrontation where possible. She has advice for every situation and knows how to console you when times are tough. Mom can be a little silly and we have a running joke about her being gullible, but when it really counts, she’s as sharp as a tack and the best mom on the planet.

Thickheaded and stubborn through and through. With firey red hair and a goatie to match, he isn’t pushed around by anyone. Tatted arms and chest displayed his passions, the Steelers and his two children. Pete is the poster boy for doing things your own way and finally the brother I’ve always wanted.

The only brown-eyed child my parents had, she’s more than family oriented. Maria is fiercely dedicated to God and raising her son to be as well. She loves to laugh and makes a habit of getting those around her to do the same. She’s my oldest sister and one I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Taking hard times in stride and being my role model of what an amazing wife and mother looks like, Julia is probably the most adventurous of us kids. Always willing to try new things, she grabs life by the horns. She doesn’t take crap from anyone and shares the spitfire gene Mom passed down. She’s become a close friend and deeply loved sister despite our chaotic history.

Grandma is quiet and collected, unless you say or do something she disapproves of. She’s sweet and always wearing a smile. With smooth skin and few wrinkles she doesn’t look her age of 85. She accepts those around her, saving judgment for the few that deserve it. She’s wise and always has a story to tell. She raised the man I love and became more of a grandma to me than my own flesh and blood. I couldn’t ask for a better “mother”-in-law.

I would touch on my husband and daughter but I have a feeling you’ll be hearing about them throughout the life of my blog and to avoid taking any longer in posting this I am going to leave out my in-laws, niece, and nephews. Maybe later I’ll do a post on them. Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my family whom I love more dearly than anyone else.

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