Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Big Shoes

Of all the people one should be nervous to meet, normally tiny little Italian women aren't one of them. And yet ten years ago, when Jim took me home to Ohio to meet his family, it was his Nona he talked the most about. Nona would have the final say on whether or not I was accepted in the family. The man I loved, loved his grandmother, and I sure hoped his grandmother would love me. Or at least like me. Or at least... you know... let me kiss the feet of her favorite grandson.

Then I met Nona. Her arms wrapped around me with an "amore baci bella" and she hung on like she was never going to let go. Like she was single handedly going to move heaven and earth to take care of me. She made me feel like her favorite grandaughter and I wasn't even her grandaughter...yet. Somewhere in there I figured out she had 21 favorite grandchildren. She added me to the mix and made me feel like a celebrity. Knowing her made me feel like I knew a celebrity.

She taught me how to make homemade pasta and gnocci, and was the first person to tell me you could pour sauce over polenta or risotto. She danced, sung, cooked and told stories like it was bursting out of her and she could do it forever.

...and I'm sure she's dancing now. In heaven. She slipped between the halls of earth and eternity in the wee hours of this morning. And while she would assure me vehemently that she was ready to meet her savior, I can't help but feel robbed and desolate. There's an aching hole in my heart that matches the bigger one in my husbands heart.

Jamie is worried she's going to have all the fun in heaven without him, and he'd like to hurry up and get there so he can play with her. I hope no one listens to that request.

He also wants to know if she's having dinner with the tooth fairy. He lost his first tooth, and surely Nona has the inside scoop on what mysteriously happened to his tooth.

He wishes she'd come back and give him his tooth back. I selfishly wish she would too.