I know this seems to be a reoccurring theme this summer. And it is not going to seem like it, but this is really about Grace’s mother’s 100th birthday.
Wayyyy back in June, when we were starting to celebrate Ben’s birthday, the morning after picking up Maria and Spring, on our way to France, after we loaded up the car, after we loaded Ben in the car, Maria and I tried to fasten the booster car seat for Spring in to one of the back seats of the car. The seat belt mechanism would not click. At this point, it is HOT! I am getting more and more frustrated (I haven’t even written about what it took to find this car booster seat). It is getting later and later. The house is all sealed up, locked up, shutters closed, pretty dark inside. Maria says, ‘it’s like there’s something down there.’ I’m looking at her and thinking ‘what?????’ no one sits back there except Nerone! Okay, I’ll go find something to dig around in there. So I open up the two sets of doors, turn on a light or two, fumble around in the dark and wonder what I should bring out. A screw driver could work but then I remember a silver letter opener that I have. It was given to my parents for their 25th wedding anniversary. Sharp, pointy, just the thing. I take it out to Maria and say ‘Try this. But be careful. It was an anniversary gift to my parents.’ Maria takes it and says ‘Oh, Hattie’ my mother’s name. (Maria lived in the same state as my Mother, knew her and would go to visit her. Maria also came over to help when I was packing/closing up my parents’ house.) Maria pokes. The seat belt clicks. I look at her. She looks at me. I say, ‘you know, sometimes when I can’t get something to work, I just sort of channel my father and then I figure it out.’ And she says, ‘ I think your father’s hand was guiding me.’ We decide that we’ll just take the letter opener with us to France, just in case it happens again. But it didn’t.
So my Mother’s birthday, was this past week. She would have been 101. Ben, daughter Annalisa, and I observed it a week early at the lobster festival. Grace and Gian Carlo were there with Grace’s Momma, and Grace’s son, daughters and grand children. To the group, I proposed a toast in honor of my Mother. She always enjoyed lobster. She enjoyed eating outside. She would have enjoyed being with family and friends. What better way to honor her.
And now finally, we are getting to Grace’s Momma. She turns 100 on August 28. But since she has moved back to Italy, her birthday has been celebrated at the first of August to accommodate the grand children and great grand children’s work and school schedules. Saturday, August 1 we celebrated Josephina and her 100 years.
She is still very active and alert. In June, Ben and I met Grace and her Momma in Sinalunga for lunch. I pushed Ben out of the car and watched as he tootled over to the table and then I went to park the car. By the time I parked and turned around to check on him, there was 99 year old Josephina pulling a chair out for Ben and helping him to get seated. It was a Kodak moment.
Back to celebrations for Grace’s Momma. Grace and Gian Carlo threw a big party. There was so much good Italian food, lots of wine, a DJ, karaoke, dancing. The local priest came and delivered a blessing. The Mayor of Marciano (where Grace lives) came and presented Josephina with official greetings and best wishes for the day. There was cake. There were fireworks. A great way to celebrate a fine life and a woman smart enough to know that she should live with her daughter. (But I did not take a single picture)
So I guess what I am rambling around to is that while everyone is still here with us on earth, we will happily celebrate a birthday. (I mean who doesn’t love a party?) And then, when you are no longer here, we’ll still celebrate! So cheers to those who we can reach out and hug and cheers to those who we can only hug in our hearts.
The letter opener on the scarf that Maria knitted for me from yarn that I gave her from my mother’s stash.