Growing up, my yard did not have a swing set or a pool or grass for that matter. We did, however, have my Nonno’s garden. Tomatoes, basil, mint, figs and cucumbers. From mid July to September, I was sent into the yard to tear a leaf of basil and pick tomatoes off the vine.
Today, living in the burbs, the lawns are manicured, the swing sets are intricate and the pools spa-like. In our yard, we have a small garden and a compost (thanks to my husband’s dedication and hard work). In early June, my husband turns the soil and plants the seeds. He waters them daily and we wait patiently.
Our Garden's First Pick
In mid July, our basil and cucumber crops mature. I send my children out to tear a leaf or two of basil and pick a cucumber for the dinner’s salad.
Today, on the cusp of August, I picked our first crop of tomatoes. And for a few short moments, I am eleven years old again in my Nonno’s garden.
My Nonno is now ninety-four years young and his yard no longer yields the crops it once did.
But this very first and very fresh bushel is for him.
How is it that even possible? 140 characters? I’m Italian for crying out loud! centraljerseyworkingmoms is taking the leap to tweet.
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Completing week four and heading into week five AND…….this picture does not lie. A total of eleven pounds lost since that very fateful day in July! Skirts that I had no business squeezing into now fit and my chest no longer seems as if it is feeding a set of hungry infant twins.
I am also proud to report that Mama Italiano has dramatically scaled back her menu selections and Papa Italiano has also been very kind to keep my fridge stocked with fruits and veggies. All in all, this has become a family project. Even the children are in on the action. On weekends when working out, they serve as extra weight as we do our push ups and lunges.
Yes, there are times where I am hungry and yes, there are times I will eat less so as to appreciate a glass or two of my new favorite cocktail (Dark & Stormy) but I am coming to learn that just like everything else in my life, balance and moderation is key. In the end, my appetite is that of an Italian. I still love-love to eat. I just need to learn to love-love to exercise.
I am on a roll. Eleven pounds down and nineteen to go!
By 10:01am, I was on the road. Ipod charged, gas tank full and kids safely in the care of my parents. For the next 18 hours, I was just free of obligations, responsibility and schedules.
Armed with the English accented GPS, I embarked on my driving journey to New England. Perhaps it is my keen sense of direction or my unwillingness to believe that a box plugged into a cigarette lighter can tell me where I should go, I ignored most of my alluring voiced companion and drove long winding roads with breath-taking views of farms and mountains and fields of vegetation. At moments, with the perfect song and the perfect view, the ride was religious – that was until Mr. English GPS informed me I was going in the wrong direction or driving on water. “Turn around and proceed to the motorway”. “Please find the nearest land and proceed out of the water”.
I am proud to announce that I arrived at my destination without making one single wrong turn and greeted with the most quaint home nestled in the woods. I opened the car door and took in the fresh clean air. Country living at its best.
It was a trip I was anticipating for several weeks and it did not disappoint. We laughed. We ate. We reminisced. We drank. We dined on fine cooked meals prepared by the master chef. We cackled well into the night just like old times. We even took a hike along a brisk path (“are you sure I can hike in my flip-flops?”) which led to a dip in the pool beneath the waterfall.
Picture Perfect - Barrett
Today I sit at my desk completely rejuvenated and I look at this picture.
I know. Picture Perfect.
It was 1st grade, Lenten season. Our class was headed down to the chapel to pray the rosary, a weekly Friday ritual for the less than pious group of 6 year olds. Mr. Keller was conducting his gym class nearby using a stick that he would methodically bang against the floor. For reasons I cannot remember, A. and I thought this was hysterical. So much so, that the uncontrollable giggles followed us into the 4th pew in the chapel. As we made our way through the rosary, the giggles continued and caught the attention of a fellow classmate sitting in the 2nd pew. This classmate, infatuated with our laughter, kept turning to peer back at us. When saying the Rosary, all eyes must be facing towards the altar and our inquisitive little classmate was clearly looking the wrong way. What happened next has been embellished over the years as we relive the story, but the gist of it is as follows: Grabbing all the hairs from her well-groomed pony tail, Sr. Gerrard pulled our poor defenseless friend from out of her pew and shook her as her feet dangled inches from the ground. Of course, this propelled us into raging fits of laughter which firmly cemented us as the culprits of this major disruption – in the most holy of places. At that moment, despite the colossal trouble we were in, I knew I had found my best friend.
Twenty-eight years later, I could fill volumes with similar stories. The tiny man lingering in the driveway at the Cape, the walk home from the Coaches house, the Viaduct – unless explained, they mean nothing to everyone but everything to us. Through it all we remain best friends.
We are both now married and living in different states. Sadly, our visits are limited to just a few times a year. However, on the eve of all our visits, I can’t help but relive all the moments that defined us and our direction. Tonight is one of those nights.
Tonight I will lay awake excited. The next 48 hours we are not wives or mothers or career women or sisters or daughters. We are those two little girls sitting in pew #4 giggling our hearts out.