What’s In Your Closet?

We collect items over the years that are of sentiment to us. These items come in many forms and they normally come from significant people and represent significant times. Throughout my life I have collected boxes upon boxes of sentimental items in something that I and most call a memory box. This box has become full of cards, notes, a chip bag, pictures, a fruit roll up, shot glasses and many other random yet memorable items that I have been given. Other than that, I also have sentimental pieces of clothing and jewellery. Of these memorable items I have been given, there is one piece that I will never part with, because this item represents a beautiful gesture from my late nonna Giuseppina.

Over the years my nonna was known as one of the most selfless women, a woman who would want to feed or clothe someone else before herself. I, my siblings and my cousins can all relate to this. But it was not only us, my nonna lived on a street that became heavily populated with University students, and those who moved into the house next to her would always get food delivered to them by her or she would invite them over to her home to eat. If they were having a party and needed chairs, my nonna would be happy to lend them out as long as they were returned by the morning (she had chairs upon chairs). If my nonna knew you did not have something that was essential, she was taking the bus to the mall to get it for you (she didn’t know how to drive). We could bring friends over for lunch during break at the University and if you needed a nap, feel free to take one.

She was the type of woman who cared about the well-being of others. Nonna did not have much, but whatever she did have, she would give it to others because she wanted to ensure everyone else was okay before herself. We have all experienced this generosity from my nonna, and anyone who ever met her knows what I am talking about, because she thought of everyone and I mean EVERYONE.

My nonna was always there for our sacraments, birthdays, back to school shopping; no matter what it was, she wanted to be a big part of it, and I loved and appreciated her for it. There was something that my nonna kept close to her heart, and it was the thought of us unmarried grandchildren. My nonna talked about it a lot, and how she knew that she would not be there for our weddings. My nonna made a beautiful gesture when I was in grade 12. I will never get this out of my mind because it just goes to show how she always wanted to be there for us in a big way. She knew that I would start my prom dress search soon and said that she would like to purchase the dress for me, because she felt sad that down the road she would not be able to be there to buy my last sacramental dress; which would have been a wedding dress.

I can go back to the day when we bought it. She and I were both so thrilled, because I now had a gorgeous dress that was bought by my nonna, and she was thrilled to have been a part of the day. My nonna was the type of woman that would get her joy from the happiness of her grandchildren. As long as we were content and happy, so was she.

Although it may just be a dress for some, that they wore years ago for one night, my dress has a significant memory surrounding it. There is sentiment attached to the dress and there is the selflessness of one of the most amazing women who I have ever spent time with and shared memories with. The amount of things my nonna did for my entire family is more than anyone can ever begin to imagine! But not only for my family, for everyone she came in contact with.

Did my nonna ever expect anything in return? Absolutely not, the only thing my nonna ever wanted was for us to be happy and for us to appreciate our time with her.

Time is something that is very important, we must all utilize it accordingly, because having regrets of not spending enough time with a loved one is something that can eat away at you for a lifetime. Even if you try to rid yourself of the memory, there may be something hidden in your closet that will bring that memory back!

Prom Dress

Sunday Lunch

Last night it hit me, the thoughts I have been trying to get out of my head came back, and it was a downward spiral from there. All I could think about was pulling up around 12:30 pm Sunday after Sunday, checking to see who got there first. The long drive-way filled with cars, all trying to squeeze in. Some sitting on the porch on a warm summer afternoon, while others are crowded around the gnocchi all perfectly laid out on the table downstairs, watching her do what she did ever so amazingly. I do not want to get her out of my mind, but it hurts to think that it is all memory and no longer reality.

To think back at all of those Sundays, I think they were taken for granted, I think we always thought we would have another Sunday, and another Sunday. Sundays were the days I loved, wake up early, sometimes go to church, grab a quick coffee, drink it fast before we would arrive to avoid the famous line “How do you drink that Canadian shit,” then all sit around and wait to indulge in the feast. Never would we assist in cooking, the most we could do was dress the salad with oil, vinegar and salt, to tasting the artichokes to see if they had enough salt. But we were restricted from lifting a finger.

Other than that, we sat and laughed, as the most powerful woman I ever knew would power through the basement, walking from stove to stove as all burners were in use, including the ovens, ensuring that everything was right on schedule. You look back and think how did she do it? How was she able to cook for all of us?

When dinner was ready we would all herd upstairs, carrying up some basement chairs to the table that was set so beautifully. We would all sit in our regular spots, sometimes having to add plates because she invited a neighbour over, or someone would pop in. There was always an excess of food, so we never worried about not having enough for uninvited guests, because we all knew she made double so we would be able to take home left-overs.

But there we were, sitting there, all around the table, as we all sat, she still continued to work, placing our first meal onto our plates, but don’t worry if you didn’t have a taste for gnocchi; she had something else waiting for you. And the work never stopped, because once person by person started to finish their first meal, she would offer seconds, and basically force you to say yes, but if you managed to get away with only having one serving, that’s when the overload of more food came, the table was full, having  selection from every food group.

Thinking back, I think why didn’t I just stop for one more moment to take it all in? Why didn’t I just hold the precious Sundays closer to me? It’s not that I didn’t appreciate them, but I just wish I could have one more Sunday lunch with her, one more Sunday lunch with us all there and her the star of the day.

I guess we can’t look back and regret, but what we can do is look back and realize that we were the luckiest people, to have someone so amazing, wanting to do so much for us, someone who spent their life dedicating herself to us.  Nonna