My Nona comes down a few times a year and brightens up our lives with every visit.
She grew up in Italy and started a family during the Second World War. She’s a tough woman who’s had a hard life by many people’s standards, although she’d never look at it that way.
In her thick Italian accent she always tells me “Chad, live imimuppa, cause you no no toomorrow” (Live it up because you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.) It sounds better when she says it then grabs me in a big hug.
My mom always tells me the story of when she was a baby in Italy and the Italian army barged into her house. My Nona, never one to back down, chased them out with a frying pan in one hand while holding my mom in the other arm. One of the young soldiers was about to hit her but an older officer grabbed him and shoved him outside, yelling at him along the way.
If the story were different and the soldier had hit my Nona I think I’d probably be in Italy right now looking for the sonofabitch who hit my Nona!
My Nona’s getting up there now, she turned 85 this passed year and is beginning to slip mentally here and there, but her outlook on life hasn’t wavered. I heard in mass this Christmas morning, “blessed are those in darkness, for they will see the light.” I immediately thought of the beautiful old broad standing next to me, holding my hand and a complete stranger’s next to her while she whispered prayers in Italian.
She’s seen her fair share of darkness, but it’s as if that darkness has allowed her to better recognize the light in her life.
I hope everyone has a great Christmas!
Enjoy life, you only have one, and cherish your loved one’s because there’s only one of them too.