by Frank LoBuono
I have been blessed with the good fortune to have powerful women figures in my life. In fact, virtually every woman that I have ever had a relationship with has been one of strength and character. I suppose that it is a matter of simple logic. If I could not respect her, why would I be involved with her for more than a minute in the first place? And this goes across the board for me – familial and romantic. My mother, my sister, my girlfriends, my wife, all of them, are, or have been, powerful figures to me. My aunt had her Masters in education long before it was fashionable for Italian-American women to have a college degree. My sister is a successful businesswoman. All of my cousins are mothers, educated, and successful. And, Stella, the matriarch is, well, almost legendary for her strength and wisdom.
Every relationship is built on respect – mutual respect. I think that I learned this lesson most deeply from my parents. They did not have a perfect relationship. They both had strong personalities and that was bound to cause conflict. If EVERYONE is saying, “hey, be reasonable, do it MY way,” tensions are going to exist. And they did. Still, with that said, there was love and, when they clicked, they made a wonderful team. In the most important ways, there was perfect harmony between them. I believe that the root of that harmony was a tremendous amount of mutual respect they had not only for each others strengths, but for each others weakness, as well. They allowed each other to express what they did best and aided the other when they were not as capable. It was beautiful.
Despite there outward conflicts, they had a deep, abiding faith in the what is right and what is wrong. It was clear, concise, and, in a sense, non-judgmental. And it was shared – unequivocally. By this they meant certain truths are fundamental and inalienable. One of those truths concerned violence towards women. Both so strongly believed that violence towards a woman, in any shape or form, was unacceptable. And both expressed this statement on an regular and consistent basis. My father would often take me aside, especially at times when he was most angry with my mother and say, “Frankie, women will make you mad. Really mad. They will challenge you. You will want to strike out. Don’t. NEVER strike a woman. Never raise you hand to a woman. No good can ever come of it – not for her, or you.” He was never more right, in every sense: women have made me angry. I have wanted to strike out. And I have done my best my whole life to live up to that standard.
However, perhaps the strongest lesson on this matter came from my mother, the one and only, Stella. Whenever I was about to leave for a date, she would call out to me:
“Frankie, remember, you have a mother and a sister.”
“What the hell does THAT mean,” was my snide, standard reply.
“You know EXACTLY what that means.”
And I did. I still do.
Respect. R E S P E C T. Always.
Frank LoBuono has lived in Nyack for over 30 years writing and covering Rockland County in print, on TV and online. He works as a cameraman and an editor for a major TV News organization. You can read his blog at Talk-Frank.blogspot.com.