As she acknowledged in Sunday’s The Real Housewives of New Jersey: Teresa Checks In (the first in a three-part special): “Most 14-year-olds are not equipped to deal with the situation that I’m dealing with.”
She continued, “No doubt about it, I wish my mom was here, but I know everything’s going to be okay.”
While keeping up her grades in school as an honor student, Gia is also staying strong at home, heeding her mother’s advice during a phone call: “Today is a tough day for daddy, so make sure you’re there for him.”
And Gia reminded younger sister Milania, “Just because mom isn’t here, that doesn’t mean you can act out.”
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Still, the struggle of her mom’s absence was sometimes too much to hide, rendering Gia speechless as she teared up during the same call with Teresa.
“I’ve been thinking of you every minute, every second,” Teresa, 43, told her daughter. “I’m there in your heart.”
But Gia has a very personal reason for holding her family together – her beloved grandpa Giacinto Gorga (Teresa’s father): “I try my best just to keep it all together,” she said during the episode – and, of course, her mother herself. Gia was seen asking her sisters and father to fib on the phone so mother wouldn’t realize the depth of her sadness during their time apart.
And Gia made the best of what she had, offering what would have been Teresa’ ticket to her graduation ceremony four days later to her grandmother.
“I would have absolutely wanted my mom there,” admitted Gia, even as she kept her eye on the bigger picture regarding these milestones Teresa’s been missing: “It’s an eighth-grade dance,” she said. “I still have senior prom [with my mom].”
Aunt Melissa Gorga noted of the teen’s resilience: “She’s doing a very good job of being positive. I think they’re doing an unbelievable job of keeping things normal.”
The Real Housewives of New Jersey: Teresa Checks In airs Sundays (8 p.m. ET) on Bravo.