The Heart of a Blended Family❤️: Love Beyond Boundaries
Stepmom Lisa and Sister Corinna Share How Alycia’s Family Is Woven with Love
Alycia Anderson: Welcome to Pushing Forward with Alycia, a podcast that gives disability a voice. Each week we will explore topics like confidence, ambition, resilience and finding success against all odds. We are creating a collective community that believes that all things are possible for all people.
Open hearts. Clear paths. Let’s go.
Hello everybody and welcome back to Pushing Forward with Alycia. I’m very excited about today. My sister Corinna is back and I have a really extra special guest. Before I introduce her this show today is going to be on parenting and blended families and the challenges. The good, the bad… raising a household full of kids, one being a kid with a disability.
How was that? What? So we’re going to talk about, specifically, motherhood, my beautiful stepmother, my momma, Lisa is on with us. And before I let her jump in and we start kind of diving into our story together. So my mother passed away when I was really young. Seven years old. My siblings and I have had a beautiful story of a blended family throughout the entire journey.
I think it’s really important as I’m sharing my path and my story to introduce some of the women that have shaped me in being who I am. [Those] that have been extremely impactful and have filled some shoes that were left behind with my mom’s absence, my stepmother, my mom, Lisa.
She was highly important in growing up from a little girl into a teenager, into a woman and kind of finding my wheels forward in life. Finding ways to become a strong woman. She’s very strong and determined and you’re going to learn that as she shares her story with you.
And I found this quote that reminded me of how my momma Lisa, always made me feel as a little girl, and this quote was, “I wouldn’t change you for the world, but I would change the world for you.”
So I’m really excited to introduce her and [bring her] into this conversation. And give her the stage and the light that she deserves. Mama Lisa, thank you for your time and space today.
Welcome to Pushing Forward.
Lisa Tetzloff: So glad to be here.
Alycia Anderson: Before we get to parenting. I think we need to start in the beginning, maybe you could lay down the framework of how the paths have crossed in our lives. That we were so blessed to become a family. Do you wanna talk about that a little bit? And share…?
Lisa Tetzloff: Well, I’m going back to June of 1979. I started being a legal secretary the same day that your father started being an attorney. And again, it was June of 1979 with a firm that had offices in Garden Grove in Thousand Oaks and on your dad’s first day he came in with your mom and you and Regina and showed off his office. And then he introduced the whole family to everybody that was there. And it was… It was so cute. You’re such a nice family.
Unfortunately, the firm dissolved about a few years afterwards, and I think it was in 1982 when I went to work for your dad part time and often your mom and your granny Rose would come in after having lunch, and it was so nice to see everybody. And shortly after that they tried so hard to have a boy and they I remember Pete telling me that they got a book.
Corinna Busciglio Kamilli: Mom!
Alycia Anderson: We want to hear it!
Lisa Tetzloff: A book that choose the gender and how to get a boy or a girl and they wanted a boy so they got Nicholas, which was really great.
Corinna Busciglio Kamilli: They tried the positions. What a tidbit..
Lisa Tetzloff: That’s a tidbit. But really, there was a book and your dad and mom read it and got Nicholas.
Alycia Anderson: Wow.
Lisa Tetzloff: Unfortunately, shortly after Nicholas was born, your momma got sick and it was 1983 when she lost her battle with cancer at the city of Hope and it was sad. Your mom’s funeral it was the biggest funeral I’ve ever seen. Alycia.
Alycia Anderson: Oh my gosh.
Lisa Tetzloff: There were so many people there paying respect to her… friends… and… And it was quite sad because your momma was 31. Anyway, it was too young. It was too young. But, it was so good to see how many people came out to show their respect for your mom and your dad.
And it was very, very touching, and it’s something I don’t think I will ever forget. I mean it was… there was so many people, it was just beautiful.
After that, I continued to, of course, work for your dad and from time to time he needed my help with, like, brownie parties for you guys because he was like…
Alycia Anderson: Ahh…
Corinna Busciglio Kamilli: Like, the Girl Scouts!?!
Lisa Tetzloff: There’s all these brownies and I have to have a party.
He lived… You guys lived in Placentia then, and they had a central area where you could have parties and he was he was so nervous. I think he was more nervous for the brownie parties than he was for our wedding.
So… But it was fun. And you guys had such a good time. It was so cute. And I thought that was so neat of him to do that for you guys, so I had… It was my pleasure to help your Dad.
And well, one thing led to another and in 1985, we got married and moved from Placentia to a house in Anaheim Hills. It was a one story. We were looking for a one story for you because it was so much easier for you to get around and that house fit the bill and we moved in there and we had so many fond memories in that house.
So many parties and it was just it was a great house. One of the parties that I remember was your baptism party, Corinna, and all of you got baptized at the same time, and we had a huge party and at the time your granny was a caterer at the top four, her and her three friends. And they came and brought all the food and catered the party. And it was such a good time. Just so many great memories of big Italian family, and I come from a big Italian family and it was just so wonderful to have the holiday gatherings with so many people and it was just so much fun.
We had holiday gatherings your granny had Thanksgiving every year and tons. Everybody showed up to the Thanksgiving parties, and I remember standing at the sink for a good two hours just washing the dishes. She didn’t have a dishwasher.
Corinna Busciglio Kamilli: She never did.
Lisa Tetzloff: She never did. No, but I did and we surely got one. We got it. Yeah. We have a dishwasher. But Granny didn’t. And there was a line of people that would be washing drying and putting things away and it was just so much fun.
Aunt Mary and your granny. And so fun, and gosh, everybody. It was just a wonderful time because there was tons of people. And that’s just how you should have a family gathering with lots and lots of family. And it was. It was a great celebration.
Alycia Anderson: When you married Papa, how old were you when you were? Where were you in your life? When you’re taking on what frankly seems to be quite a responsibility?
Lisa Tetzloff: It was great. I gotta say that I loved you guys. I mean, I just loved you guys and it was a privilege for me to be able to take care of you and help your Papa with you guys and going through growing up. It was just… it was a just a privilege.
Alycia Anderson: After my mom passed away like I’ve always had, and this might be me, like internalizing my own like ableism and stuff. But like, I’ve always had a little bit of guilt that, like Papa, had to deal with a lot of the medical stuff that I had to go through my whole life. And I know that you had a big role in that when you guys were married? Like I feel… Like do you… can you speak to any of that like… could you remember how that affected him, or you two or…?
Lisa Tetzloff: It was stressful, but each surgery, Alycia, we felt that it was going to make your life easier for you. I mean, and it… And they were important surgeries also. Your Papa had a great support system you had your Rose, your granny and Aunt Mary.
We were always all together. I mean, I remember all of us waiting in the hospital rooms, you know, waiting for you to get out of your surgeries and things. Your biggest surgery, and I think the best surgery, the best procedure you had, that really changed your life, was the Koch Pouch, and that happened in about… I think it was ‘88-‘89 that you had the Koch Pouch.
Alycia Anderson: I was born with bladder incontinence and I was born with only one good functioning kidney, which has been the hardship of my disability, it’s been something that I’ve had to deal with life-long.
Lisa Tetzloff: It was life changing for you.
Alycia Anderson: As it still is… almost 35 years…, 30 years later-ish, you hear a lot about how having a kid with a disability is really hard on a marriage, and I was actually, looking at the statistics… It’s like they say like 80%ish fail because of the stress of a lot of the layers that go into it, and I’ve always felt a little bit guilty that I put that… like I could cry about right now.
Let’s take a quick break. You’re. Listening to Pushing Forward with Alycia.
Welcome back to Pushing Forward with Alycia. I’m very excited about today. My sister Corinna is back and my beautiful stepmother, my momma Lisa, is on with us and I’ve always felt a little bit guilty that I put that… like I could cry about it right now.
Lisa Tetzloff: Don’t, don’t. It wasn’t that way. I mean, I think maybe those statistics are for people that… maybe the real mom and dads that have been through so much together and they can be frustrated and at their wits end.
But since I came in the picture after you were with us, I think I was… I was…, I’m trying to think how old I was, I turned 26 the June after I got married.
Alycia Anderson: What I would like to say while we’re having this conversation is a sincere, heartfelt thank you for everything that you did for me when I was a little girl that I needed without a mom. Like, honestly.
And you’re right. Like I had a crew of women which was you and Granny and Aunt Mary and Aunt Carol. That kind of were there to fill those gaps and those holes. And I think I need therapy sometimes when I think about how I affected I had to have those been really stressful.
Lisa Tetzloff: But like, do you know how you affected me, Alycia? I always thought of you. OK, we’re gonna cry. You were my hero. You were my hero. And I always thought God, if she can do this. And have her sister, who looks just like her, walk around and she can’t.
I knew that I can do whatever I had to do or put my mind to do because you were my hero.
Alycia Anderson: Well, thank you.
Lisa Tetzloff: But you shouldn’t feel bad about anything. One of my favorite things is was going to Disneyland with you. We had to take you, I said. We have to take them out of school. We got to go to Disneyland, and we did that a couple of times because you were our ticket to the front of the line.
It was the best! We got to park real close I mean, we had front row parking and we got to go on the rides every time.
Alycia Anderson: Like talk to parents out there that might be listening to this and have kids with disabilities.
Lisa Tetzloff: But I mean it’s the…, it’s the Mama reaction. It’s the Mama bear reaction. You want the best for your child always. It doesn’t matter if they’re disabled. You know it… it’s you want the best for them and I think as a parent with a disabled person, you just have to, I mean, and I’m sure they’re all they’re always aware of the surroundings, but it’s… it gives you purpose and it and you strive to make things easier for your child. But that’s what a Mama and a daddy would do for their child, whether they’re disabled or not, you always want the best and do the best for them.
Alycia Anderson: Do we wanna touch on the entrance of Corinna.
Lisa Tetzloff: Corinna. She was born in May on May 26, 1987.
Corinna Busciglio Kamilli: At what time?
Lisa Tetzloff: At 3:10 in the afternoon.
Corinna Busciglio Kamilli: She doesn’t tell me happy birthday till after three ten.
Lisa Tetzloff: I remember when you guys came to the room. Nicholas was so upset that she was a girl.
Alycia Anderson: Oh my God.
Lisa Tetzloff: He cried. He was not happy and I apologized.
Corinna Busciglio Kamilli: What was the name if I were a boy?
Lisa Tetzloff: Dante.
Corinna Busciglio Kamilli: Dante Busciglio.
Lisa Tetzloff: Dante cause Dante’s inferno. He was reading at the time.
Corinna Busciglio Kamilli: He was very popular.
Lisa Tetzloff: I woke up. I remember having Corinna and you guys… I remember this so vividly. I was having a dream that my water broke and I woke up from my dream and my water actually did break. I went to the bathroom and it kept going. And I just remember being really scared.
And you guys both told me you can do it, mom.
And I thought I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna do it. I got to…, I got to do it. I can’t back down now! So I said, when I come back, I’ll have a baby.
It was an experience taking care of everybody going to the grocery store. You guys were so helpful. Every Friday we go to the grocery store. You and Nicholas would push her around in the cart with her in it, and we’d fill up her cart and we’d fill up another cart and we’d every Friday. And we did this. It was it was incredible. But it was a team effort. I mean, and as a family it is teamwork and that and it’s very important to have teamwork as a family.
And I moved here to Arizona in 1990.
Alycia Anderson: So you and Papa were married. You guys were married how long?
Lisa Tetzloff: I think 1991 was when our divorce was final.
Corinna Busciglio Kamilli: But you were together for almost 10 years.
Lisa Tetzloff: Being divorced and having a family, you have to put the kids first. I know a lot of people don’t. But things work much better if you put the kids first and things worked out and we stayed in touch. I mean, I love you guys. You’re still my girls and…
Corinna Busciglio Kamilli: And all the.. You came to all of the weddings.
Lisa Tetzloff: I came to all the weddings. I am remarried now to a wonderful guy, Bob Tetzloff.
Corinna Busciglio Kamilli: Daddy, Bob.
Lisa Tetzloff: Daddy Bob. And we are going to celebrate our ten year anniversary.
Alycia Anderson: Oh my gosh!
Corinna Busciglio Kamilli: And when our Dad died. He was engaged. Again, to a wonderful woman named Claudia…
Lisa Tetzloff: Yes.
Corinna Busciglio Kamilli: And Claudia and my mom became very good friends and Claudia came to my mom’s wedding.
Lisa Tetzloff: Yes.
Alycia Anderson: I think we’ve done a really good job of maintaining this blended family scenario even when divorces happen in different relationships. I mean, we really have maintained. For a long time.
Corinna Busciglio Kamilli: I think there were, you know, obviously if you’re going through a divorce, not everything is bright and shiny, but. You know, from the child’s perspective, especially because you know, I was leaving my brother and sisters and my dad and went with my mom to a different state. There was a lot of communication that had to happen. There was a lot of planning, a lot of…
Lisa Tetzloff: Plane rides.
Corinna Busciglio Kamilli: A lot of plane rides. Right.
Lisa Tetzloff: Yeah.
Corinna Busciglio Kamilli: I never, ever, ever felt like my dad didn’t love me in any way shape or form because I moved with my mom and you know it there. There were just a lot of dynamics there that and then spending a lot of years away from my siblings. Again. Like, that’s hard too. So there were a lot of times where, like. It could have gone where we weren’t close or, you know, didn’t have the relationship that we do, but because, again, perseverance, communication…
Alycia Anderson: And the dedication of the…
Corinna Busciglio Kamilli: Keeping the family at the forefront
Lisa Tetzloff: Family is important.
Corinna Busciglio Kamilli: I think.
Alycia Anderson: And you and Papa, you were dedicated to the commitment and the calendar, the cycle of visits. And like it was very, it was so consistent. You and Papa in your marriage and outside of your marriage dealt with a lot of adversity. Right. And like you. To the theme of the show. Is pushing forward, pushing through it
Lisa Tetzloff: Right.
Alycia Anderson: And to get to the other side of hope, a lot of people can get stuck. At the point. Of adversity and not know how to push through fear and just keep going, because there’s always another side of it when you get through, so I think. That that’s a. Really useful, special wonderful story to share. That has multi layers, I mean my. Gosh, are we missing anything before we leave?
Lisa Tetzloff: There is something that I wanted to say how proud I was of you went out after you guys moved to go up north to go to school and and you were a waitress down. Course Orange County, but the first and only time I served by a a waitress with a disability was you. And I was so you could wheel your wheelchair and hold a big old tray and do it with ease. You you got good tips.
Alycia Anderson: I did get good tips.
Lisa Tetzloff: You really did good, but I was so impressed with you because that’s not easy to do when you’re able bodied and you did it from a wheelchair. I just.
Alycia Anderson: Those lessons come from the lessons of my many parents, right? It started with my mom and dad, and then it was you and my dad and my granny and my Aunt Mary. And then it was. Additional women and you know, Papa pushed me. He only adapted what was necessary, and he pushed me to. Figure things out on my own to make it happen. If there. If there wasn’t a way. So you know a lot of that comes from. The lessons of. Growing up of you got this. Go do it, yeah.
Lisa Tetzloff: You can do it and you. Always have to believe in yourself. That’s a very. Important thing. Everybody had a job and. And you included you were not treated differently and I think that’s something that parents need to know you you didn’t want to be treated differently and you weren’t. And so you had your jobs, too. Everybody had jobs. It’s a family thing. And I think that’s what’s important to know that it’s it’s family.
Corinna Busciglio Kamilli: I still want to hear. Alycia’s favorite memory with Mom?
Alycia Anderson: In the theme of honoring George Michael and his sex tour, which was my very first concert that my mother stepmother took me on, Michael.
Lisa Tetzloff: I want your stepdad.
Alycia Anderson: And we loved. It right. What we’re like 6th grade and. You let us bring our best friend, I think Becky. Came with us. Did she come with us or was it just maybe she didn’t come with us? She was spending the night one night and of course, after we went to the George Michael concert, we were blasting him in the house all day and all night. And you started sexy dancing.
Lisa Tetzloff: [laughter]
Alycia Anderson: So I think. Like my favorite memories of you and are us. Me. Growing up with you is. Is you gifting Regina and I those first experiences of concerts and doing our hair and going shopping at Mervyns and trying on shoes and you know, just like, yeah, like the 80s hair and just like you taught us how to, like, grow from little girls into adolescence. And so I have a lot of those like first, little like, Oh my gosh, I remember when we did that? And so. So I love you. It was it. I’m so grateful for everything that you you gave to us, gifts. Gifts. So I’m going to give both of you a chance to give some last minute inspiration to the audience.
Lisa Tetzloff:I love you, yeah.
Lisa Tetzloff:I think about my mom a lot. She would say things like if you’re, if you’re going to do the job, do it right or don’t do it at all. I think that’s really good advice I do.
Corinna Busciglio Kamilli: Love it. I like that. Mom, I think for me, I think you know something that my mom is always ugly. You really have to be your own advocate and advocating for a child is even more important because your voice is their voice until they can have their own voice. And so. I think if anything, this last year has taught me is to never give up. One foot in front of the other and keep advocating.
Lisa Tetzloff: You have to use. Your voice, because you’re your own best advocate, especially in the medical field.
Alycia Anderson: I love this conversation so much I love. You too very. Much thank you too everyone out there. Who decided to listen in to our family history and our beautiful story? This is pushing forward with Alycia and that is how we roll. See you next time.