We all have stories. And our families have stories. What are they? What do they say about us, about our parents, about our families? We were talking about Chuck’s story last night – well, really about Chuck’s mom’s and dad’s story. Their story is one of romance, of timing, and choices. Chuck is not an O’Shea by birth but by choice. His stepdad’s name was O’Shea, by birth Chuck’s name was Poland. His mom and stepdad met and fell in love at at a TB sanatorium. Yes, you heard that right. She left Chuck’s dad in New Jersey, left a cushy world of privilege for a life with a man ten years her junior who had no job or prospects to speak of. Chuck and his sister left most of their things behind in New Jersey, starting fresh with their mom and the man who became to all intents and purposes their dad. They saw their real dad twice after that, both were sad, short visits where there was little connection. They weren’t his kids anymore. They had become O’Sheas.
A few years ago we went to New Jersey and I saw the, well, mansion may be too strong a word, so I’ll just call it the big ass house where Chuck grew up. And I saw clearly then the reality of the choice that his mom had made all those years ago. She literally gave it all up for love. She and Chuck’s real dad and stepdad are all dead now, so we can’t ask them the big questions, like “Was it worth it?” “Would you do it all again?” We go through life, making choices, making decisions. Sometimes we think the decisions out, other times we just jump. In my life I have never heard of anyone who made a leap of faith the size of Chuck’s mom. Could I have ever made a choice like that? I have no idea. Could you?