Tag Archives: Nonna

A blissful weekend…in pictures.

As I trot off to California for the next four days, I will sear into memory a blissful weekend that I truly believe was even MORE blissful because of shifting my focus and not going into this trip with any sort of ‘dread’ (except for the goodbye to M, which is always, always so hard), but with perspective that it’ll be a fantastic experience, filled with growth.

Without further ado…

Another ‘happy miles’ run with M, even if a bee did chase me and I ran like the wind 😉
got my sushi fix on Friday night, with a glass of wine on the patio
Impromptu trip to the lake on Saturday…check out that glisten.
got to dip my toes into the lake, not as chilly as I thought, either 😉
a sister cookout at Jess and Scott’s, never complete without a photo bomb 😉
I ❤ my sisters!

Complete with dinner on the deck and a crisp rose, and the weekend rounds out to a beautiful close…

And on a weekend that has marked the passing of my Nonna (May 20, 2009), I couldn’t help but think that this picture perfect weekend is her, smiling down, happy to see the happiness and love in my life, and in my sister’s lives too. I hugged my niece a little tighter, with her namesake (Isabel) and just smiled, my heart happy.

She climbed right up into my lap…and though it was just briefly, it’s captured.

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If you could see me now…

My Nonna passed away two years ago today and I know I mentioned it in my throwbacks post about a month ago but I can’t let today pass without saying a few words. More than anything, I wish she could see me now.

Her last remembrance was at the most painful point in my journey, just two months into my separation and ensuing divorce, on Christmas Eve. I was a shell of a person. I was weak. I was sad. I was crumpled. I clung to her words that evening, telling me I would be okay, telling me how much she loved me, and as the tears streamed down my cheeks, it was almost unfathomable for me to believe that I would be.  But I am. Her words were right.

I’ve come so far, I’m proud of my journey and more than anything, I wish she could see me now. In my own place. On my own two feet. Confident, stable, happy, more outgoing than I ever was before. I wish…

And almost more than that? I wish she could have met M. I know she would have absolutely adored him. She would tell him to take care of me and to treat me well and to love me. She would probably pinch his cheek or pull him close to talk to him quietly. And she would accept. And love. And be happy. She would look at me, her smile would rise from her lips and she’d nod and say ‘good. you did good. I like that boy.” I wish…

But I know deep down, she’s there, she’s with me, she knows. I just want to talk to her and tell her that I love her and that I miss her. But then…I see my beautiful niece Isabel and I see Nonna dancing across her face, in her smile, in her eyes. She’s there. She’s beaming with pride. For my sisters and me. She’s happy.

If you could see me now Nonna…I’m happy, in love, and content. Thank you for the 29 years of love you gave us growing up, you are in my heart forever.

“era escrito cosi il libro del destino”

In English:

“look in the sky.  whatever is written in the book of destiny, you can’t change.”

Throwbacks: My Nonna.

My Nonna was, and still is, one of the most influential women in my life, past and present, and as her would-be birthday nears, I thought doing a throwback post on her would be most appropriate.

Truth is, I still miss her every single day. She passed away on May 20, 2009, almost two years ago now, but her death was the closest death in my family I’ve had to deal with (and I realize I am extremely lucky saying this, to have 3 of 4 grandparents still living) and extremely difficult for me and my sisters to go through (but we did it together and it united us in one more way).

My Nonna was a special woman, she loved my sisters and me dearly, as we were her first grandchildren and we grew up with her, watching her cook, listening to her tell us stories of her childhood and playing dress up with us (our favorite? “Here comes the Bride!” marching around the dining room table dressed up in random dresses and shoes), and seeing the joy in her eyes when we’d come to visit (as an Italian, she was always quick to welcome us in and feed us!). The one sad thing is, I don’t truly think I realized how much I loved and appreciated her, nor realized how much she meant to me or influenced me, until she fell ill and subsequently passed away. As much as that makes me sad, I feel her all around me, I think back to her words almost daily, and in that way, I’m still loving and appreciating her, and that gives me some solace (though it makes me appreciate my grandparents on my mother’s side that much more – stay tuned for a post on them coming up).

Anyway, here are some of my favorite excerpts from my old blog on my Nonna. Enjoy.

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My special moments with my Nonna, on the eve of her heart attack on Christmas Day:

I visited her for Christmas Eve and it was the first time I had seen her since the divorce situation began. I want to sear this memory in my brain forever, as it was one of my favorite moments with my nonna that I will never forget. She pulled me next to her, as she sat in her favorite chair, and looked at me, and could tell I was really sad. She held my hand, hugged me close and talked to me quietly. She said “nonna is always thinking about you, and praying for you. I love you, you are strong, you will be ok. I love you honey, and am always here for you.” And she gave me a kiss on the cheek, and let me cry, and just sat with me. And it was a really powerful moment for me, and I am so thankful God gave me that special time with her, its significance will never been forgotten.

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My favorite quote from my Nonna…and one holds so much meaning for me, then, and now:

“era escrito cosi il libro del destino”

In English:

“look in the sky.  whatever is written in the book of destiny, you can’t change.”

I wrote this post the day the short sale on my house was finally approved, and I could move on towards my quest to becoming ME again, no strings to my marriage or past attached. As painful as it was to let go of that home, it was absolutely the right decision.

~~

Some of our favorite memories of our Nonna…some of these also made their way into her eulogy, verbatim:

  1. eating “nonna soup” (this was the BEST italian wedding soup ever made…never knew it was called wedding soup until my 20s – no lie!) – she would put the soup into brown wooden bowls for us, as kids, and we’d bring them on the porch, and let them cool down, then we’d put parmesan cheese on top, and devour it, with Virgilio’s bread. We would ask her to make this for us all the time – for our birthday, for holidays, whenever she would make it. And she loved it, because she couldn’t believe someone could love “just” soup so much. But it was her soup, it was made with care and love.
  2. hiding under the dining room table, and in the cabinets, playing with pans. okay, this was a really young childhood memory. We were probably 5 or 6, and we’d hide under the table and play and she would peek under at us.
  3. yucky celery – aka fresh anise. We LOVED this stuff as kids, but always called it yucky celery. Nonna loved that, thought it was so funny.
  4. sleepovers at nonna’s. We would sleep over on the weekend sometimes, and in the morning, she would be up super early, making meatballs for Sunday dinner (notice all of this centers around food? We’re Italian, what can I say).
  5. nonna babysitting us. She would lay between us until we fell asleep, and she always used to tell the story of the time we were sleeping but one of us slowly shifted our arm over her head, and held hands with another sister. She thought that was so cute, and it was, we loved holding hands as kids!

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These are just a few memories of my Nonna, but they always make me smile and make me feel even closer to my sisters as we will sit and recall some of our favorite stories she would re-tell us often. She was an amazing woman, she united our family, and her namesake now lives on in my niece…who has also united our family like never before. Can’t be much more fitting than that. Nonna, I love you, and always will.

“If I had a single flower for every time I think about you, I could walk forever in my garden.”

-Claudia Ghandi