Life Lessons: Karen Finocchio

Are you happy at the moment?

Honestly thrilled. My children are all 25+ are starting their own lives, I have a wonderful, kind and caring man who makes me laugh and we are old enough to know better and young enough to not care.

If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?

Inhale every second of every experience good or bad. Keep a journal of experiences, people, places and paths you have followed. Even if you think what your doing doesn’t matter (wiping snotty noses, washing crayon off the wall, dancing in the kitchen alone at midnight).  It is a wonderful reminder of how you evolved into who you become.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?

It is more effective and deadly to defend yourself with silence then to engage. I refer to that as reverse Irish, it freaks men, women and your children out. It took me 50 years to realize they never, never hear me when I’m yelling.

What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?

To reach out, mentor and teach others what it took me so damn long to figure out.

What’s your secret to happiness?

LOVE, strength, belief in yourself and most important YOU make your own luck!

What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?

Staying true to who I am and knowing my dearest friends and family will call me out at anytime.

What’s your biggest regret?

I truthfully have few regrets and I’m no Mother Teresa, that’s for damn sure, hence the @OneToughMuther.
However I will list the ones that did come to my mind:
Not having more patience with my children when they were young,
Taking the $40.00 a week my oldest son made at the age of 12 by working at a farm daily after school and on weekends for groceries.
Not helping my second son focus more on school and less on sports. I wish I hadn’t been too busy to realize he needed more male  guidance.
Not going to my third son’s friend’s funeral with he and his friends when he was 19. I was in the middle of my ex-husband’s emotional and mental break down and our divorce and I couldn’t focus clearly.
Not being more of a girl’s Mom to my beautiful, smart and talented  daughter. I wish I didn’t hate shopping, wish I could have sheltered her more and not let her see me drop to my knees during our divorce and sometimes think she was embarrassed of the way I am over the top and dress funky.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?

Be self sufficient and many people will come & go in your life but your family is there from beginning to the end.

What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?

My need to stay busy. I suck at sitting around.

Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?

Oh, this one’s tough to write.

My father and I were very, very close the entire time I was growing up. He was a big, proud, tall, strong, hard working family man. It nearly broke him when I married at 19 to a young man my father absolutely hated. I moved around the world for 11 years to end up divorced and penniless.  I returned to my home town; four little children in tow to start over. Dad and I quickly became very close again. Mom still worked but she and Dad helped me in every way they could.

A short time after my return my Dad developed cancer. At first he seemed to beat it, but like in so many cases when the beast came back, it came back with a vengeance. Dad slowed down little by little but after years of  treatment  he became weak. Dad wanted to continue to sleep upstairs in the bedroom he and Mom had slept in for nearly 50 years but could barely make it up the stairs. We had ordered a bed for their family room downstairs but Dad refused to sleep in it opting to climb the two flights of stairs every night. One night I received a phone call from my mother saying she needed help. Dad had fallen to his knees on the second landing and she couldn’t get him up or down the stairs. Immediately we rushed over to help. He was visibly shaken and emotionally drained. It was at that moment that we all finally silently stopped pretending Dad was going to beat this beast again, despite what the doctors said. It was in a matter of minutes my Dad went from Superman, tall, strong, tough and emotionally stable to tired, weak, fragile and scared.

Once we had him downstairs in the bed we had ordered and settled, I bent down to help him lift his legs onto the bed. I kissed his forehead good night but before I stood he said “I’ve always wanted to tell you how proud I am of you. You came from nothing and you have made something special out of yourself.” I couldn’t believe this loving but very guarded man had said that. I smiled ready to break into pieces and all I could say was “Nothing, Dad? I came from you.”

It was the single proudest moment of MY life. I still think about it often but in my head he is once again a big, proud, tall, strong hard working man and he was proud of me.

When were you happiest?

I think i was happiest the last Saturday when I saw my son Troy hug his six- & eight-year-old sons or was it the last Wednesday when my son Matthew text me a funny picture and called to tell me how he helped someone while he was on patrol. Oh, wait, no; it was Thursday when my son Kyle called to tell me one of his 7th grade students said he was the coolest teacher in the middle school, or maybe it was tonight when my daughter Amber called to ask me how my day was going before her Masters class after she waited tables all day…..when was I the happiest?

Now!

What ten words best describe you?

So you know I had a ton of input on this one so here it goes:

Crazy, Confident, Funky, Fun, Stubborn, Caring, Freaky, Happy, Lover

Karen Finnochio grew up in a very small town in northwest New Jersey with her parents, 2 brothers and a sister. Believe it or not she’s always been the “wacky” creative, off the wall sibling.

In addition to her posse of four children she has been blessed with two wonderful daughter-in-laws and two awesome, funny and creative grandsons. They are currently six & eight years old. She also has a future son-in-law who’s a cool dude and a great guy who excepts her crazy, wacky, off the wall ways.

Now she is here, fulfilling her life vision to guide, strengthen and teach woman through her experiences, good and bad, how to dream big and become bigger to become One Tough Muther.       

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