The 30 Year Secret: A Journey of Self-Discovery

The 30 Year Secret: A Journey of Self-Discovery

Coming soon from Writestream Publishing and author Samantha Kincaid.

From the Foreword:

As the old saying goes, “Writing is therapy.”

I wrote this book for a multitude of reasons. First, the process of transforming my incredible true story into a fictional tale was therapeutic on a personal level. It helped me to put my actual life events and circumstances into perspective. Within these pages, through the characters of Theresa Chianti and Lucy Napoli, I tried to express my deep gratitude to my mother for giving me the greatest gift I could have ever received after an unplanned conception: a home filled with love, even if lacking in material comforts.

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, where my mother, brother and I lived in a studio apartment with a kitchen and bathroom. None of us had the luxury of a private bedroom; instead we slept on convertible couches, chairs, or cots depending on whomever happened to be visiting. Thanks to our apartment building’s unaddressed infestation, we could always count on the constant companionship of roaches. And while I remember our father as a loving man who always treated me like a princess, his financial irresponsibility meant that my mother worked two grueling waitress  jobs to keep food on the table and send us to Catholic school.

Between the ages of eight and ten, my brother and I were often separated for long periods of time. During the summers we’d live with relatives since my mother had to work. Even though he loved us, my father struggled with his own demons which prevented him from stepping up. Still, I never lacked for love.

Now imagine reaching the age of 30 and receiving news that shatters everything you believed to be true about your life. That’s exactly what happened to me one day when my oldest sister called to request my presence at her house immediately. I assumed she was going to tell me about another death in the family since we’d had more than our share of them at the time. When I arrived, I was struck by how pale she looked and knew that whatever she was about to share was not good. However, I was completely unprepared for what she disclosed.

As it turned out, no one had passed away. But figuratively, all of my beliefs about my birth, childhood and upbringing were destroyed.

A single tear fell from my eye. How could I not know? How was it possible I hadn’t figured it out on my own when the signs had all been there?

So many questions.

Theresa’s journey is my journey. Certain circumstances, places and people have been adapted for fiction but what you are about to read is based on my own life. Whatever you are dealing with, I hope you’ll find inspiration in the strength of maternal love which I know from my own experience transcends biology, legally binding contracts, and financial hardship.

With gratitude and love, I dedicate this book to my mother, a woman who lived for her children. She may not have been perfect but her love for us never failed to reflect the love of God and her devotion to the Catholic faith.

Stay tuned for details as we get closer to the release date.

Cover design by Kimberly McGath.

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Writestream Tuesday with authors Adrian Meyer Mallin and Balazs Szabo

If you missed the live broadcast today, click below to listen to my interview with two exceptional guests. Planning to stop by Adrian’s book signing tonight, so will hopefully have some nice photos to post later!

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My Mother, My Role-Model

Since I’m all about celebrating strong, empowered, loving, patriotic and accomplished women, I realized I’d be remiss if I neglected to write about the most influential woman in my life, my mother Rose. Actually, I come from a long line of strong, can-do women, which obviously helped mold my mother into the independent, loving, strong female I have always known her to be.

While we tend to think of “empowerment” as a modern phenomenon, I’ve been blessed to be a part of a family in which this has been quite common for many generations. My cousin Millie — the first female graduate of  Temple University Pharmacy School — had a distinguished career back in the 40s. My Great Aunt Emma was a self-employed business owner of a Philadelphia beauty salon around the same time, while also a wife to my Uncle Al and mother to my cousin Joey (and eventually, grandmother to five and great-grandmother to twelve). And my mom’s sister, my “favorite” Aunt Marie, also owned a thriving gift shop in Flourtown, PA while also raising a family with my Uncle Merle.  (May God rest the souls of these wonderful women).

But no one has had as big an impact on my life than my mom, Rose. While technically a “stay at home” mother of five during the critical years of infancy, childhood and adolescence, due to my dad’s crazy schedule as a general and vascular surgeon, the heavy lifting of child rearing mostly fell on her highly capable shoulders — thus in that sense she was a “single mother”.

The early days: Mom and Dad with my older brothers Ralph (on mom's lap) and Mark.

She also managed the books for my dad’s office, while volunteering for endless school- and hospital-related endeavors like homeroom mother, Home & School Association President and Physicians’ Wives Auxiliary, to name just a few.  Additionally, she helped with homework and various projects, shuttled us to various activities like baseball practice and dance classes, and exposed us to art, culture, history and professional sporting events — even if my dad was not available to come along.

I never heard my mother once complain about having to do it all herself, or about not having my father around her every waking moment. She accepted the fact that as the breadwinner, provider and head of the home, my dad’s demanding profession would keep him away much of the time (though when he was home he was fully present in whatever was going on). On the contrary, she reveled in her independence and in her children.

And lest anyone think being the wife of a surgeon was always glamorous and financially secure, let me add that my father was the son of immigrant parents who worked three jobs throughout high school, college and medical school to help pay for his tuition. In fact, when first married, my parents had to live with her parents because of dire financial circumstances. And even after they’d managed to move their young family out to the suburbs years later, they still couldn’t afford furniture for their two-story colonial in Springfield, PA.

With Mom and my nieces Alexa, Julianna and Sophia.

When they found out they were going to have a fifth child — me – it could not have come at a worse time. Add to the financial stress the fact that my mom’s father suffered and unexpected heart attack and died very early into the pregnancy, it’s a miracle I am even here.

But for me, the defining moment of our family (and the biggest testament to my mother’s strength and resolve) occurred over eight years before I was even a glimmer in father’s eye: the birth of my second-oldest brother, Ralph:

Ralph arrived on October 4, 1959, the second-born child of my parents, Rose and Al. Despite the trauma of his premature birth and the absence of my father who was working in upstate Pennsylvania as part of his medical residency, Mom was thrilled to have a baby brother for her older child, Mark, then 17 months-old. When she held the beautiful blond-haired, blue-eyed infant in her arms, the young 28 year-old mother felt truly blessed. Ralph was a sight to behold.

Her joy was shattered early the next morning, however, by a visit from Ralph’s pediatrician, who matter-of-factly informed her that her baby had been born with a terrible affliction known as Down syndrome. With clinical certainty, he pronounced that Ralph’s future would indeed be bleak. Pointing to a tree outside the window, he explained that my brother would be just like a tree trunk—unable to do anything but stand there. To say that this guy had no bedside manner would be an understatement. He completed his “professional analysis” by recommending Ralph’s institutionalization since my Dad was a resident doctor, and the presence of a handicapped child would be a “stigma” on the young family.

The more he spoke, the angrier my mother became—after the initial shock. Summoning her courage and faith in God, she ordered the doctor out of her room with the firm admonition to stay away from her baby. As of that moment, he was no longer Ralph’s pediatrician. Filled with an inner strength and supported by my father and close family members, she vowed to do everything in her power to help this special boy reach his full potential. And she would soon discover its scope went far beyond anything the “experts” foresaw.

Under the guidance and tutelage of my determined mother, Ralph crawled early, walked early, ate with no problems, and even toilet-trained early. A loving, affectionate child, he was a source of joy for his parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and a wonderful playmate for his big brother. Mom switched to a new pediatrician—a kind, caring man named Dr. John Williams—who applauded her efforts and was amazed at all that Ralph had accomplished.

Please click here to read the whole thing. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for my upbringing and most especially for a mother who taught me to be strong,  independent and courageous not only by her words, but by her example.

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