For the past 30 years, I always believed I live in two separate worlds. There’s my American world, which includes my friends, my job, my errands, and my graduate education. Then there’s my Italian world, which basically consists of my family and my household.
I owe a debt of gratitude to my parents for giving me this Italian world, which includes of all of us speaking the Sicilian dialect to one another, my father watching Italian soccer games and variety shows at high volume, and my mother cooking up multiple delicious meals that could feed a football team. Mmmm, Sundays are the best because the aroma of her signature tomato sauce always permeates the entire house. Out of the way, Giada! haha!
This Sunday is special, of course, because it’s Mother’s Day. Today is one of the few times in the year that my mother will not indulge in one of her favorite pastimes. Yep, you guessed it: Dad and I are taking her out. 🙂
In writing this entry, I could not help but think back to three weeks ago when I celebrated my 30th birthday. It was a wonderful occasion, and once a year, my mother writes words of encouragement and love to me in her native tongue. This year’s milestone was much a celebration for her as it was for me. I was blessed that she got to share in the moments of joy with me and my family and friends.
When I think about my mother, I see an adventurer who left her small village in Sicily with her father to come to America and begin a new chapter of unexpected blessings. I see a trailblazer whose world was shattered after finding out that her eight-month-old daughter had a major physical condition, but still found the hope and courage to give her baby the love and normal life she deserved. I see a warrior who has overcome obstacles of her own and manages to get up every morning to do her daily activities without complaint. I see a confidante who will drop whatever she is doing to give a listening ear to a family member or a friend. Finally, I see a teacher who has taught me to deeply appreciate my sense of self and gave me a love of telling stories. To this day, she always reminds me to take things one step at a time, that anything is possible as long as I put my mind to it, and that what God gave me was not a physical condition but a gift.
There are many more adjectives that I could describe my Sicilian mother, but the most heartfelt thing that I can say is that she is the bestest of my best friends. She is extraordinary. I am who I am today because of her (and dad, of course), and the life lessons that she has taught me. Life hasn’t always been roses (I did inherit her stubbornness … haha!), but words cannot express how proud I am to be her daughter. Her gifts of originality and possibility are life lessons that I will forever hold dear in my heart. I hope I can be as good of a mother to my child someday as my mother is to me.
So to all the biological mothers, adoptive mothers, foster mothers, stepmothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, godmothers, and mothers-to-be, I wish you a very special and happy Mother’s Day!!! I hope you all have a wonderful day. You all deserve it! We are who we are because of your unconditional love, guidance, and support. We are forever grateful for everything you do and have done for us. Thank you so much for being the adventurers, the trailblazers, the confidantes, and the teachers in our lives.