April 16, 2014

 Since Mother's Day is on our doorstep I thought I would share some comments with you our friends who have faithfully followed this blog as long as you have. I guess I could talk about my own mother (who was absolutely amazing) or I could talk about my wife, the mother of our children (who I feel is beyond compare on every motherly level) but since this blog is focussed more or less on Jesse (whenever I don't digress which is near impossible for me) I think it appropriate to make special mention of Jesse's mom.


Many of you know Kristin well, but I know that there are many who are casual acquaintances and still others that know her mostly from what you have gleaned from this site, or the news or maybe just from videos of her and Jesse on YouTube and other internet sources.


So let me give you a little back story to begin.


As a father now of three grown children and a grandfather of two, I look back on the life of my family and Oh what a story there is to tell. Of course I know we're not alone in that regard. Every family has their own unique history, the ups and downs, the highs and lows, the successes and the failures. And like that old sports cry from a bygone decade, "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat", sums it up pretty accurately.


Our first born was a son, followed by two daughters. The oldest and youngest gave us their fair share of challenges as they were both very strong willed, however Kristin our middle child was compliant to the extreme. Sweet to the extreme, loving to the extreme, gentle to the extreme. She was also unimaginably gullible believing everything and anything anyone told her because she trusted everyone (to the extreme of course.) This tendency to trust people didn't help her growing up as we eventually learned when the years unrolled themselves before us like a carpet over a mine field. Actually what should have been a big plus, trusting everyone became quite the detriment through all those impressionable years. We should have learned back then that everything in Kristin's life would end up on the extreme side, but who knew, especially not two young parents just madly in love with each other and wanting beyond anything else in life to raise our three beautiful children to be happy, healthy, morally grounded and productive adults.


So with our long lists of good stuff we saw in our kids and three very short lists of...let's say, stuff that could be improved upon we waded confidently into the deep waters of child rearing. And we always said, "Well of all our Three Amigos, er...I mean three Arrigos even though our two strong willed ones are testing our endurance every day there is one thing we can depend on in the future, we won't have a single thing to worry about with Kristin, the compliant little sweetheart that she is!" All I can say in our defence is I'm pretty sure there was something in the Mississauga drinking water back then that rendered us delusional. We soon found ourselves in the turbulent Grand Rapids of the teen years with a daughter who was way too often taking an emotional bruising through the uncompromising extreme trust she was investing in others, yes probably many of the wrong others too.


Nevertheless, the experience did it's job in toughening her up and in many ways turning her into the strongest and most resilient Arrigo of the three. Here my friends is a true survivor. She has had a world class education. You know the place. It's been referred to as the School of Hard Knocks, and I'm pretty sure she graduated at the top of her class.


The thing is...

I have always believed that God prepares us for what he is preparing for us.

Our all knowing God knew that a little boy named Jesse would one day be, and that this little Jesse would need a mother with special skills, a unique set of life experiences, a mother that was supremely resilient, one who was full of faith, and with a love that never gives up. And just so I don't come off as the father that has the love blind notion that his kids are perfect, I'll ask the question that demands the greatest honesty. Is she perfect, without fault and all wise? Absolutely not! She has her faults, her weaknesses, and her good and bad extremes. But isn't that more or less true of all of us?


Today, for those of us who know her best, because of the obvious emotional trauma of the past and by her own admission Kristin seems broken in several ways. But Jesse too is broken. And sometimes it is beyond my comprehension and ability to understand, but in all their brokeness somehow they are healing each other. We have seen that the delicate chord that unite a mother to her child can be stretched, strained, bruised and abused without mercy, yet miraculously remain connected as one.


In a sense we are all in our own schools of hard knocks because without question life is hard. Understanding traumatic events like the loss of a parent at an early age, a devastating bankruptcy, a failed marriage, a life long dream denied, or the near drowning of a child can be a daunting task. It's a tough one understanding all that goes on in life, let alone what goes on before life begins and after it ends. But let me say this...


If I was present in Heaven before Baby Jesse was born to see it for myself, I believe that if he had been given the choice to pick a mom from all the women in the world, the woman he would have chose was Kristin. His mom, a woman as unique as he himself is, a partner, a playmate, an inspiration and a family.


So happy Mother's Day Kristin, and an official "Thank You" to mothers everywhere (just in case the kids forget to call and say so)


Bob Arrigo

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