T E X A R K A N A M A G A Z I N E
IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK COLUMN BY L IZ FL IPPO
I have always been a sucker for mindless television. I look forward to my “me time,” watching reality television, especially those centered on housewives, after the kids go to bed. I think it makes me feel grateful that my life seems a little less complicated and a lot more joyful than those I see on the screen. As my kids are getting older, though, we are looking for more family-friendly shows we can all enjoy. America’s Funniest Home Videos has been a huge hit and we have also been dipping our toes into Family Feud . I loved Family Feud as a young adult, and I actually think I am a fairly decent couch contestant. A few weeks ago, I was watching the show, and it made me think: Who would be on my Family Feud team? To be eligible, their official website says you must have five family members related by blood, marriage, or legal adoption, all over the age of fifteen. I mentally thumbed through our Rolodex of family, and in no particular order, this would be my team… The first player would be my dad. He is by far the wisest person I know. His profession as a family physician automatically puts him in a top-tier category of all kinds of knowledge, but one of my favorite things about him is his communication style. As we say in my family, Daddy can “dumb it down,” which means he can explain something in a way that meets us on our level. He does it without intimidating terminology, judgement, or reason for angst. I remember watching him sitting in the kitchen, drawing a chart to explain to my Aunt Mommy, my mom’s identical twin sister, what the possibilities of her breast cancer diagnosis could mean moving forward. In such a time of fear with a heavy diagnosis, Daddy made her comfortable with what was ahead. He was also the first person I called after we found out I was having twins. In the doctor’s office parking lot I sobbed, “Daddy, I’m having twins and I’m so scared!” He let me ramble through tears about my worries and irrational thoughts before he, almost giggling, said, “Baby, there is not one bad thing about this.” And he was right. He was in the sixth grade when he started dating my mom, and they have been together ever since. To me, my parents are the definition of true love and a committed marriage. That isn’t to say they’ve been without hard seasons but walking through those times without the other was never an option. He never tries to stop my mom from one of her crazy, yet “practical,” ideas like spray-painting the dead shrubs green or walking the dog with jumper cables instead of a leash. Like he says, “There’s more than one way to be right.” I’ll save more on Momma for another time, but my parents bring out the best in each other and their story is one for the books. On this Family Feud team, some of Daddy’s strengths would be golf, woodworking, and old movies.
Next up is my sister-in-law. We’ll call her Sister Girl. Sister Girl is originally from Connecticut, and her family has deep Italian bones… like, she has an Uncle Frankie and her Ma’s red sauce is amazing. Sister Girl is married to my older brother. She is a television production manager and is a new mom to the most precious baby in the world. She is an answered prayer full of the spunk and fun and love our family never knew we were missing! And she is strong, y’all. She went through her entire first pregnancy during a global pandemic while living in California and gave birth to the most perfect new addition to our crew. Sister Girl has her work cut out for her if that sweet boy falls in line behind his daddy. Growing up, my brother often found himself in some sort of comical situation. I remember my mom asking my brother and his friend to cut some limbs down from a tree just off our driveway. Hours later, my mom and I came home to find them sitting in the tree without a way to get down because they had cut away all the lower limbs. On another occasion, his effort to clean and hide the muddy carpet mess made by his hunting boots, was exposed after realizing he had bleached dark green carpet. Initially he was in trouble, but I’ll never forget my mom saying, “One of these days I’ll miss those spots.” I didn’t really understand it then, but now that I’m a mom, I get it. My brother is kind, incredibly creative and loyal, and Sister Girl is the best compliment to him. In Family Feud , some of her strengths would be Disney movies and soundtracks, soccer, Italian food, and her sense of adventure. Sister Friend is my husband’s older sister, and she has basically been surrounded by boys her entire life as she is the only girl among three brothers. She lives with her husband and two teenage sons. I realize I am a newer mom of two boys, but Sister Friend automatically deserves a medal for that! Sister Friend is an administrator of a local hospital and is one of the most thoughtful people I know. She remembers everything and never fails to send a quick, “I hope your appointment goes well today” or “How did your meeting go yesterday?” text. She truly listens and makes someone’s mundane seem important. Just the other day I couldn’t remember how much my daughter weighed at birth, but Sister Friend knew. When my husband was a toddler, he and Sister Friend were at their grandparents’ house and he was standing on the ground coloring on a piece of paper that was in the seat of a light blue velour chair. Before his grandmother knew it, my husband had thrown the piece of paper on the floor and colored all over the chair with dark crayons. Their grandmother called the local cleaners to get The third player would be my other sister-in- law, and we’ll call her Sister Friend.
L I F E & S T Y L E
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