Before she was Stregga or Nana, she was Mama. My Mom is one of the most amazing women I know. She is funny, compassionate, generous and brave. When I think of a mother I picture someone who loves unconditionally, that is my Mom. She is my confidante, caretaker, role model and best friend. Throughout my childhood I have memory after memory of places we visited like the beach, museums, parks and time spent together. My mom stayed at home with us and would load up all of our friends and take us everywhere!! We had a blast and she became "Mommy" to many of our neighborhood friends even to this day.
Stregga always made celebrations of our life amazing!! She went all out with making birthdays special. I remember turning 13, a major milestone. And my Mom took me for an appointment at a make-up store. I had been begging to wear make-up but had to wait until I turned 13. I was taught by a professional what colors to choose and how to apply it. It was so much fun!! For my 16th birthday I wanted a pool party, but since my birthday falls in January in New England it seemed unlikely. But, Mom took my aunts and my friends and I to have a sleepover party at a local hotel. We had a great time hanging out at the pool and staying up all night chatting!!! Each year is celebrated in a special way and we always have fun together.
Over the years my Mom has tried to instill in me a sense of independence and courage. She always encouraged me to explore and have new adventures. Once we drove to Florida ourselves around my 18th birthday. We sang and chatted and made stops along the way. We enjoyed the Disney parks and met new people. It was a trip I will always remember. She even let me drive on RT 95 -woo hoo!!! My childhood was filled with fun trips to Wildwood, Cape Cod, Clinton. Always road trips and beaches and fun!! My dad worked a lot and couldn't always get time off, but that didn't stop Mom or summer fun. She would load up the car and off we would go! And since we had a pool at our house being home in the summer was fun too because all of our friends would hang out at the pool. Summers were the best!!
As I got older I went to my mom for advice that went beyond make-up and boys. I knew when I was making life decisions I could always count on her for an honest and realistic opinion and unwavering support. I always felt like it was ok to take chances and make mistakes because I would be loved no matter what. I am grateful for that because I think it helped shape me into the person I am today. I wasn't afraid to make new friends and travel to new places. Along the way those people and places became part of the woman I am now.
Since becoming a mother myself, I have a new appreciation for my own Mom. During my first pregnancy she stayed with me in the hospital for weeks. Sleeping over, visiting every day for over 2 months waiting for the boys to be born. She never complained that the cot was uncomfortable or the drive was too long or that she was tired. I never felt like a burden to her. When my own baby was sick and needed to be hospitalized I tried to call on that example of strength. And I have to admit I fell short. I was exhausted and grumpy and that was after only 5 days of staying in the hospital with him. I wondered, how did my mother do this for all those weeks?? And when the boys are up all night sick I have a hard time finding the energy to care for them with so little sleep. But, my Mom always manages to come over and help me wipe their snotty noses and hold and comfort them. Once day last winter Luccio was so sick. Stregga came over and sat on the couch with him for 8 hours!! She fed, changed, bathed and snuggled him. I sat by in a heap of exhaustion wondering where she gets her energy!! I was thankful and impressed to say the least.
The other day Vincenzo was worried because he thought there was a critter in his outdoor play house and he wanted me to check it out. I of course don't like critters so Stregga went over and discovered it was only a rock. I said, "Wow, Mama you are brave!" And she said I better start getting braver myself because mothers need to be brave! And she is right. I do hide from critters and bugs and bloody boo-boos and Stregga is luckily around to pick up my slack. But, I do need to be braver and I know I have an excellent role model who is teaching me how to be a wonderful mother!!!!
For all that she does and all that she is I am grateful that God has blessed me with the mother I have. I cannot imagine my life without her. I wish my mom and all mothers a very Happy Mothers Day!!!