That family of four above was my family of four for a very long time. 17 years to be exact. We lived in Italy, lived in Maryland, went on ski trips, took long drives all over Italy, spent time with my dad's family in Pittsburgh, spent a lot of time with my mom's family in Mesagne, went to Disneyland and took on the typical day-to-day activities of a family of four...school, work, pets, sports and all the other millions of things you take for granted in your family life. But it was just us, the four of us. And then something happened. My parents sat Scott and I down to talk on April 1, 1995 to tell us that my mom was pregnant. I was in 11th grade and Scott in 8th grade and naturally had more important things to do than listen to our parents talk nonsense. I mean, they couldn't be pregnant, right? That's not possible.
Wasn't it just going to be Scott and I as brother and sister forever. It had just been us for years, playing together, fighting together, being a brother and sister. Together. But this wonderful, crazy thing called life had other plans for us. We weren't going to be just the two of us in this world for much longer...
September 30 I got a call from my dad pretty late at night saying that I had a baby brother. I told him that I knew but I didn't know where he was right then and there. I thought he was referring to Scott. Like I said, it was late at night and I had been sleeping. But no, my dad was excitedly telling me about my NEW baby brother. My mom had been on bed rest in the hospital for some time with this pregnancy and born 2 months early we introduced the world to preemie Antonio Patrizio. He was tiny weighing just around 5lbs and so fragile. He was in NICU for a bit but eventually put on his weight and came home to join our family. We were now a family of five.
And man, did Antonio add to our little family of four. Well, for starters he's by far taller than any of us so there's that. He turned Scott and I into REALLY big sister and big brother seeing how I am 17 years older then Antonio and Scott 14 years older. We had baby toys around the house, saw my mom nursing him, had to remember to hold his hand in the parking lots and on occasion we babysat him for my parents. Children birthday parties were a thing again in our house. He came to visit me when I went away to college, he was the ring bearer in my wedding and a groomsman in Scott's wedding. He is the godfather to Sofia and Chase and an amazing uncle to Olivia, Mason, Mario and Gabriella.
He has added a lot but most importantly I think his presence reminds us that anything can happen. You can be going about your life, not being able to truly predict what's around every corner and then it happens. Life hands you something and you take it and run with it because there's no looking back, no rewind button. No do-overs, no time-outs. You take it, embrace it and grow.
You go from a family of four to a family of five and you create a new life. All together.