Last night, I heard an often repeated Italian expression that, because of recent circumstances, means even more to me than it did four days ago. La famiglia è la patria del cuore or your family is the homeland of your heart. We, Americans, are familiar with the expression home is where the heart is. Basically, the same sentiment. No matter where we go or how many miles (or emotions) separate us or how long we are away or whether we nag, smile, bicker, or hug, la famiglia è la patria del cuore. Simple. I know how lucky I am to be a thread in this handcrafted fabric. I am grateful beyond words that I have a dad and mom who have always loved me, protected me, wanted the best for me. That I have a brother who, no matter how little time we get to spend alone together, will always be my best friend. That, even when my children and I are apart, their hearts are safe within my heart. La famiglia è la patria del cuore. It’s how my ancestors lived, breathed, prayed, loved, ate, drank, slept. It’s the fundamental stitches my grandparents sewed that now entwine my heart with each of my family members’ hearts. La famiglia è la patria del cuore. It’s the sometimes imperfect loops that still include everything and everyone I am tied to. It’s my roots, my core, my center. La famiglia è la patria del cuore.
Happy birthday, David. To my best friend and brother.
All my love,
Since my friend, Mary, over at Living with Food Allergies and Celiac Disease, started Monday Memory (which takes place the last Monday of the month), I thought it was the perfect day to reminisce (of course, it’s not the last Monday of the month but, hey, you should know me by now).
Nearly all my best, childhood memories include my family. Sun soaked, water logged days spent swimming in Non and Pop’s pool with my brother, mom, and dad, inhaling the Intercoastal with its pungent, sulphur smell that smacked my sinuses, stalking the brown water, dockside, hoping to see a silver eel streak by.
Memories that also involve the Atlantic Ocean which was just a short walk across A1A from their condo, the mysterious body of water that housed millions of varieties of life. Whose beaches I lay upon under moonlight, motionless, transfixed, watching as the dark, shadowy sea turtles came ashore to dig nests and lay their eggs. The buoyant salty waves that lapped at my soul. Tides which pulled life’s negativity, ugliness, harshness out to sea till they became little specks on the horizon.
Just some of the magical powers of memory–like a small town revival with its hallelujahs and deception entangled under one tent. Fortunately for me (and something most kids take for granted), I only experienced the Messiahs during childhood–the joys and carefree days which blurred into years that formed me like wet sand in the hands of a master sculptor.
My being, my core, my inner child is grainy, sun streaked, and dampened by salt spray. My remembrances which I keep dusted and lovingly displayed in my heart are happy and messy. They leave sandy footprints behind as they traipse through the years to find me where I am now. They slip into my dreams and cover me in beach sunflowers. They resurrect my beloved Nonnie and Pop-Pop whose wrinkled hands stroke my sun bleached hair, whose dark, Italian eyes speak love, whose lips utter “mange” and “I love you.”
My memories are my buried treasure, coin upon golden coin, hidden from the surface, yet, shallow enough to dive for whenever life becomes overwhelming or hateful or unforgiving. They are my secret to survival. They are. . .and I am.
A switch was flicked firing neurons and igniting that part of my brain formerly rendered grayish and squishy. I’m not saying you’d want to call me for IT help (only my mom who is more tech inept than me does that), but at least I can perform some basic trouble shooting.
Just yesterday, I moved my desktop to another location. While the Internet is not up and running (yet), I properly connected the wires, most of the speakers and the keyboard works! Yay! I know–but for me it’s quite exciting.
Short story longer, my brother, David, has received (in the past) numerous calls involving “it’s off-line again” or “how do I scan and upload” and much, much more. Poor guy. Since he works three jobs+ and is an amazing dad, composer, professor and musician, I’ve tried to cut back on my calls.
However, I still can’t scan and upload my photos without them ending up as pdf files, I think something’s wrong with my router and wth? I must defrag my disk! In the meantime, I’ll keep trying. Here’s hoping my “skills” may be properly utilized. If not, my bro might start answering the phone like he did in the past, “Tech support!”
My brother, David, is one of those amazing people you are fortunate to meet once in a lifetime. I was lucky to grow up with him and we still have a great relationship. It couldn’t have been easy spending an entire childhood with me. I was known for my creative fiction: “sharks” in the deep end of the pool, “hauntings” in the house around the corner, and plastic “bugs” that would await him as he crawled into bed. However, God forbid, anyone mess with my younger brother! We got along so well in high school that, many people we worked with, didn’t know we were brother and sister! Awesome! So, this is a tribute to the man who is a best friend, the person who has modeled for me independence and dream pursuing, who works harder than anyone I know, who is the best dad my niece and nephew could ask for, and, who was and is, the most amazing brother a sister could hope for. Dee, I love you and am so proud of your accomplishments! Your musical talents are incredible and your intrinsic feats. . . priceless!