Columnist Loretta LaRoche thinks the holiday season is a perfect time to make caring for ourselves and those around us a top priority. She says that nurturing could be the best possible gift.
In my work, I’ve discovered that most people know at least one person who has had a profound effect on them, be it a teacher, a family member or a colleague. For me, that person, was my grandmother Francesca. She was what most of us – overwhelmed and fatigued – would love to see standing in our kitchen: wooden spoon in hand, stirring a pot of marinara sauce.
Her goals were simple: darn socks, do the laundry, iron, decide the meals for the day and the week ahead, ask if she could do anything for you, and to take time to say the rosary. Sounds rather mundane, but she certainly could fill up the day. There were also myriad characters, including relatives, the local priest and me. She took care of me from birth to age 7 while my parents worked. My grandfather Lorenzo was also alive, and keeping him well and happy was another of her jobs.
She always looked like a grandmother. No spiked hair or workout clothes, or concerns about the right bra.
Her attire was a simple house dress (usually floral) and sturdy shoes, and her hair was always in a bun. Her undergarments always gave me a giggle, especially her underpants. They were pink, long and had lots of room. She used to hang them outside, and I always tried desperately to make sure my friends didn’t see them.
Now I realize how smart she was. She sought comfort, not style. I often think of her when I am out looking at underwear that looks attractive but might just choke your thighs to death.
Her way to manage stress in the family was by having her famous “little red sauce” available 24/7. If someone lost a job: “Don’t worry, have some pasta and a little red sauce.” You don’t like your boss? “Have some pasta and a little red sauce.”
And if I fell and scraped a knee, she would whip out a candy that was in the bottom of her bag for just this type of situation. It was squashed from being under layers of other stuff, and it could have been several years old. But it didn’t matter; it always helped.
The one constant that my grandmother provided was nurturing. In our stressed-out world, we spend little time nurturing each other. Perhaps this holiday season we should make that a top priority. Let’s take care of ourselves and those around us. That may be the best possible gift.
Author, humorist, PBS star and Fortune 500 trainer Loretta LaRoche lives in Plymouth, Mass. To share your pet peeves, questions or comments, write to The Humor Potential, 50 Court St., Plymouth, MA 02360, send email to GetALife@lorettalaroche.com, visit the website at www.stressed.com, or call toll-free 1-800-99-TADAH (82324).