November 3, 2015
My 4½ year old nipote, granddaughter, is home with me today. She has a sprained ankle and is watching kids’ TV as she ices her ankle and I write. At least I try to write.
I keep thinking of my little darling. She is my young inspiration and my greatest distraction. I want to put the keyboard down and play a game with her. I keep working and she asks questions that take me off my track. I have set a goal. I need to write this blog post today!
That is so AMERICAN. Goal oriented Nonna (grandmother) ignores child to accomplish her goal of writing. Blah, Blah, Blah.
The Italian side of me says, “Forget the blog and be with that child. What’s more important? The child, silly!” That is the ITALIAN way.
Children are the center of life for the Italian Family. What comes first? Not the husband, not the wife. It’s all about i bambini, the babies. And yes, they are babies for years. Kids come first.
Got a sniffle? Mamma will hold you, feed you, put you to bed and worry about you all day. So what you are 27 years old? You are still Mamma’s baby!
Twist your ankle? Call the ambulance! She could be maimed for life! Mammas and Nonni, (grandparents) do this all the time. We are over-the-top with our fears for the children. So much of our lives are invested in these little (or not so little) people that they become the reason for existence for the Italian family.
The genuine love the parents of Italian children have for their offspring is sometimes overshadowed by the pride the parents feel. We want to show them off, dress them up and make sure they are happy. We want others to fall over themselves to adore our children too.
When we walk la passeggiata (the evening stroll) with our neighbors we dress ourselves up and our children even more so. The family must fa una bella figura, make a great impression by looking its best. It’s an Italian thing—must always look beautiful. But the children, well, they look like angels. Botticelli could have painted them they are bellissimi! (extremely beautiful!). You would never know they were fighting in the mud an hour ago. Bella figura, bella figura!
Italians in Italy are known for always looking their best. We Italian-Americans wear t-shirts that say things like “my parents went Vegas and all I got was this t-shirt, or ITALY.” Italians would not wear shirts like that even to bed. We wear fanny packs.. They would never wear one. We travel in shorts. Our kids wear shorts and t-shirts. Theirs dress up and are clean all the time. No adults wear shorts unless they are at the beach.
Older women like me wear dresses more than slacks and they wear heels. Dear God, not heels on those cobblestone streets! I would catch a heel between the cobblestones! I want flat Mary Janes to wear. My ankles hurt in heels on a long walk. Perhaps the Grandmother in heels hurts too. Her ankles are swollen. But she would rather die than wear a flat in public. No way! Not going to happen. She is going to look good. It is her way of life.
Perhaps it starts when they are babies. It is all they know. Look great always! It is a part of you! You must never let it go! It is the way of life for Italians. I wish I could do it.
Well one thing I guess I did do was finish this blog. My granddaughter helped. Maybe this is the Italian-American compromise. I gave up my original topic, talked about kids while my darling laughed and we talked. For me it was a great compromise. I hope you enjoyed the ride with this Italian grandmother and la bambina del mio cuore, the child of my heart.
Want to take your little ones to Italy and take an evening stroll with the locals? We at Take Me Home Italy can help. Andiamo! Let’s go!
Ciao for now!
Ciao for now!
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Ciao for Now!
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