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John and Amanda's Wedding

My Address

By Rich MonettiPublished about a month ago Updated about a month ago 8 min read

Photo by Sue Thompson

If you’d like the address in print

I assume many of you remember how nervous you were on your wedding day and understand that John and Amanda are the most nervous people here.

Wrong…. I’m the most nervous person here. So thank you very much John and Amanda for putting me through this.

Of course not, I am so honored to be chosen to deliver on this day. It is a lot of pressure, though.

So I’ll switch it to Amanda. In the Gisonni family, she seems to get the brunt of it. But she wears the teasing well, and as I know from playing the same role, that makes you pretty good with the comebacks.

Still, we never take enough time to praise, because making a joke is just too easy. But we’ll get to the good things. Yes, I need to be funny first. So let me start with some sibling stuff.

Up first, Samantha never needed much of a plan to play the part of the invasive little sister. So Samantha, I had to ask, “What did you have to do to get under Amanda’s skin.”

“Not a lot.”

Pretty good, eh?

Brian, on the other hand, had a standard fall back. Snuggins was his surgical strike, and he’d undo his little brother with the nickname all the time.

Where that came from Linda had no idea, but she knew one thing. John hated it.

Of course, times have changed, and now they talk all the time and are always there for each other.

The same goes for Samantha and Amanda. They talk on the phone, exchange advice and have their laughs.

Of course, there’s no changing a tiger’s stripes. So when I asked why things have progressed, Samantha did her thing. “Because we didn’t have to share a bathroom anymore.”

I’m glad I’m not following her today

By the way Joe and Samantha, if this is where you’re heading, you need to know something. This whole thing, this whole production, it’s on the house. Next time, a hefty pay scale will be in order

The good news, I am flexible. Amanda, on the other hand… I got between 7 and 10 minutes and that’s consistent with the narrative that Amanda is stubborn. Although, that’s not entirely accurate, and again, I will get there.

So I’m brought back to my first ever interview. Kathy Storfer was an early childhood educator, and I lamented all the time I spent saying no to kids at my daycare. So she countered with some advice that essentially turned the issue back on me

“Never say no to a child unless absolutely dangerous,” she instructed

Did you just hear the gasp from every parent in here? But I came to understand what she meant. Everyday, every hour, every minute I heard the word no.

Clean up your mess. No

Stop teasing Billy, no

Come inside, no

Finally, it hit me, and I said it out loud. “Where do these kids learn the word no from?”

Of course, They learn it from us. No you can’t can’t go out, no you can’t watch that on TV, no you can’t stay up late.

So where am I going with this? Well, we know Amanda is stubborn. But why? Well, let me quote, “It was my way or the highway.”

Anyone guess who that line belongs to. Sal has reaped the stubbornness he sewed. Not so fast, Sal knew exactly what he was doing. We call it vision.

I asked him, what is the most important thing John Has given Amanda. One word : Compromise.

John has given Amanda the ability to compromise. Put that one in the early childhood education books.

As for John, foretelling is part of his story too, but his came from above. Upon being placed in Linda’s arms, it was like the skies opened, and God smiled down.

Ok, I made that up.

Linda’s actual reaction. “Oh my God, how am I going to do this.”

Not to worry, Audrey stepped right in and with maturity beyond her years, the 18 year old assured, “I’m there for you Mom.”

Ok, I made that up too. In truth, Audrey told me, “I sat my parents down and gave them talk about being irresponsible.”

Of course, she quickly changed course, and John became her little buddy. She even took him to college a few times.

But back at home, the real challenge soon revealed. John began to talk. He never stopped. Nonetheless, it was about being inquisitive. How come this? How come that? Why does this happen? How does that work?

So he was continually gathering information, and that meant Linda had to stay a step ahead.

For example, once John was in church and sitting still did not happen. So the next time, Mom told the youngster, “if you don’t behave, I’m going to blister your behind.”

Well, Linda forgot her own caution, because John really was a step ahead. “I hope you brought the Desonix,” he won another battle.

So home earlier and in closer proximity everyday, Linda became hammer, and the two often butted heads. Which meant John had his own highway to deal with.

It was a different log line, though. “John, if you can find someone who loves you more than I do, I'll pack your bags for you.”

In line with what we know, a teenage John once took her up on it and bolted out the door. An empty nest not really at stake, Big John still couldn’t resist putting aside his good guy role in the family dynamic. He sunk his teeth this time and gleefully called his son’s bluff. “Hey John,” he yelled out, “by the time you get to the bottom of the hill, your cell phone will be turned off.”

Geez, I hope the two Johns never ganged up on mom.

Still, the overall effect of John could not be denied. “He kept my parents young,” according to Audrey and Linda was first to say, “John was the best thing that ever happened."

Of course, as moms do, Linda gave credit elsewhere. John’s persistence, thirst for knowledge and identification with his dad and career played a key role academically and professionally.

On the flip side, Amanda actually makes the most of being mum. “She doesn’t talk about something, she does it.” Linda admired. "She wanted to go into real estate, she just did it.”

So stubbornness - not quite. Intense is the better word, according to her father. "She wants what she wants when she wants it.”

You listening John? The truth is he doesn’t have to. “They are like two pieces of a puzzle,” Linda has observed.

And Sal spoke along the same lines. “Amanda is diligent, hard working and has ideas, and John has the ability to put those ideas into play.

Not bad, but now it’s my turn.

Yes, I’ve noticed and admired the same quiet resolve. We used to talk about Amanda playing Division I softball or getting to the Olympics. She was the first to shut down those conversations. She just wanted to do and see what happened.

So she just rolled with not being a successful college pitcher and amazingly suffered no ill effects from never becoming the best softball player in the family. In fact, she’s completely capitulated that honor.

Kickball, really?

Of course, when she showed up, I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to “do this.” And if there was any doubt, Samantha really took care of that for me.

If you don’t know, when they were around five, I was tasked to babysit, and I was definitely a step behind. They conspired and locked me out of the house. But there was no conspiracy. “That was 100% me,” Samantha admitted, and I never had to babysit again. That’s what I call vision.

Which brings me to favorites. Parents will never admit to having favorites but I don’t believe them. From my experience, the favorite niece shifts. Sometimes it’s Amanda, and sometimes it’s Samantha.

Why Samantha? She’s more like I am, and a little new information really says it. Apparently, Samantha had a party at the house in Rhode Island, but actually in this case, I’m just a little disappointed. Not because the police were called but because I wasn’t invited.

And Why Amanda. Because she’s not like me. A lot of us in our family are certain that we deserve to be the center of attention. How do you think I landed here?

Amanda is smarter, though, and I quote an article I wrote from her softball playing days. “For Amanda, the game face mirrors her personality. She's confident enough to remain reserved until the right moment comes. Then suddenly she’ll unleash something coy or engaging like the whirlwind that blazes or baffles opposing batters."

Of course, I have no such ability, so this really gets my admiration.

But as I’ve stated the drama and impulse to tease can unfairly gain the center of attention in a family. Main case in point, we’ve always laughed about the epic fights between father and daughter.

Of course, Samantha provides the imagery. “When Daddy and Amanda fight, me and mommy know to just stay clear,” she conveyed.

Another zinger, but here’s a different angle, and I am endeared to offer it here. “What did you miss most when Amanda went to college," I asked Sal.

One word again : "Everything. I felt like I lost a piece of me."

On the other hand, Linda quickly saw and appreciated that pieces of John would not be lost as can happen in a relationship. “I am so happy he is happy. Amanda does not bog John down, She wasn’t changing John and lets him still be an individual.”

Fine with Sal because he had a fellow traveler. So the father-in-law knew he could really put it to him at John’s most vulnerable moment. That was the day he asked for Amanda’s hand.

Of course, there was only one reply that would do. “Are you sure you know what you’re getting into,” Sal deadpanned.

John obviously had his approval.

So here we are or actually here I am. When I write, I can kind of sense an ending before I get there. However, on this occasion, I didn’t know how this collection off stories led to a summation. I could just keep going on until someone finally just kicked me off the stage.

What’s the time Samantha?

And then I had it, A lazy writer I could be. Fortunately, it works perfectly. I’ll leave it to John and Amanda to write the end. I know it’s better than any kicker I could come up with.

children

About the Creator

Rich Monetti

I am, I write.

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    Rich MonettiWritten by Rich Monetti

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