Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year Wishes - Auguri di Buon Anno

The people who use their mind are rare, the people who use their heart are few, and the people who use both are uniqueRita Levi Montalcini (Torino, 22 aprile 1909 – Roma, 30 dicembre 2012) 

Dedico questo posting a tutte le persone che mi vogliono bene, con l'augurio di ascoltare sempre il cuore e la mente e di continuare a sperare in un futuro migliore, come ha fatto lei.

I dedicate this posting to all the people who love me, with the wish to always listen to the heart and to the mind and to continue to hope in a better future, just like she did.

Rita Levi Montalcini (Nobel Prize Recipient in Medicine in 1986) died yesterday, looking forward to what would come next, one day before New Year's Eve.

In my mind, she will remain as the woman who fought for her independence and won; the woman who made coherent choices in her life and who sticked to them with the power of her mind; the woman who would sleep no more than two or three hours a night because "I have no time to lose"; one of the few Italian Professors "che non ha mai montato in cattedra" (who has never preached from her Professor chair)probably the happiest woman of Italian origin who lived in the United States. And I will remember her as the woman who, unlike most of us, had the courage, the passion and the power of mind to choose to have a career BUT not a family.  

A Happy Inspiring 2013 to all of you!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Come on, it's Christmas! - E Dai, e' Natale!

Christmas started early this year. We read the story of Mary, Joseph and Jesus, many times. We played with two nativity playsets. We decorated a few trees.  Tronk dressed up as an angel and met Santa. We sang Christmas carols. We filled our senses with red cheeks, panettone, golden decorations... hot chocolate.

I have never seen Tronk so shy as when he met Santa. It was like he was meeting a rock star.

We even talked about how nice the Christmas decorations look this year here in East Arlington.

So what's missing? What is it that we haven't done yet?  It's Christmas people, let the cheer begin. Point taken but what is this cheer all about?

I thought Tronk was getting more excited every day about the upcoming Christmas and La Befana (the Italian witch filling socks with sweets and gifts). Yet last week Tronk made this comment in the mall: "e' proprio orribile questo Natale!(how horrible this Christmas!)" while this week  he kept repeating this line, probably from a cartoon: "questo Natale e' rovinato! niente regali!" (this Christmas is ruined! no presents!) while he was beating his Santa plush toy against the couch. Instead of making him happy, Christmas is making him angry.

Come on, it's Christmas. At Christmas we should all be happier. Wait, should we?

After the initial surprise in hearing Tronk complaining, I realized that perhaps there is something to it. Christmas is not so special as we want it to be. In the Christmas season there is so little happiness around. We are all having to face shorter, darker and colder days, we take it in turn to get sick (see previous Christmas posting), we stress about finding the perfect gift for people, we are not kind to ourselves if we fail to bake the perfect cake (or cook the perfect dish), we struggle to celebrate the end of the year in style. To make things worse, we are hit by devastating news, followed by unanswered questions - (1) why there are still children in danger in the American schools? (2) why there are always people becoming angry and cursing others just before Christmas? (Italians on Facebook) (3) why there are so many more suicides during the Christmas season? (in the news) (4) Finally, why should we all be festive and share the cheer in this particular time of the year?

The other day I saw the message below written in my local coffee shop and I suddenly thought: here it is. Here is the answer to my question. Here is the answer to what Christmas is about. Come on, people, it's Christmas! Help others cheer up. Do something worthwhile and smile.

That's what it is all about. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Early Christmas Gift - Regalo di Natale In Anticipo

Yesterday I received an early Christmas present and the whole day was special but I was too busy complaining about the things I had to get done to be able to appreciate it. Let me do it today.

First, we celebrated the Festa dell'Immacolata (Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary) with panettone and hot chocolate (in the truly Italian style) and we managed to put the tree up with the red and yellow balls that we bought last year (last year, I had to hide them from Tronk to stop him from building a tower of broken pieces in the dining room). This year, the decorations, which were in a plastic bag on the dining table early this morning, sort of disappeared. Where could they have gone in such short amount of time? I searched in our bedrooms, in the living room, in the office. I didn't know where else to look but John had no problems finding them. They were hanging on the tree nicely, with Tronk proudly looking at them! I couldn't believe he did it all by himself.

Guarda, c'e' la stella cometa! (Look, there is the shooting star on top!)
And this is not what made my day special.

We wrote Christmas cards, which Tronk was able to sign with the help of John who was spelling each letter for him, we wrapped a few gifts (the ones that survived one year of Tronk's thorough explorations around the house), and I even managed to successfully bid the minimum amount set for a beautifully carved Italian presepe (nativity), which we'll probably have in our house a week before Christmas. Exciting, but still not enough to make the day special.

What made yesterday so special is a gift, an early Christmas gift I received from Tronk. I can now say (I think I can) that Tronk is almost (I'll better say almost)  POTTY, YES, I MEAN... POTTY TRAINED. Yes, we are (almost) there.

"Adesso sono un bimbo grande. Diamo il tavolo del cambio ai bimbi piccoli!" (I am a big boy now. We must give the changing table to the small kids!), these are the exact words he said.

I know this means that William is no longer, for any sustainable reasons, a baby, I know, but hey, no more unpleasant surprises in the dining room and "no more changing tables" or at least that's what Tronk uttered with conviction today (we removed the changing table from his room!), no more days spent at home in the least appealing room of the house, no more time spent waiting for the damned thing to happen, no more diapers, pull-ups, swimmers, special pads, training pants (or whatever names you wanna give them) coming out of my bag,  no more begging. I am relieved.

Tronk, please tell me that this is my Christmas gift this year and that you won't change mind. You can do it. Two years ago, few days before Christmas, you started walking. Remember?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

To all the Children who live in MA - A tutti i Bambini che Vivono in MA

A poem dedicated to all the children who live in MA.

Il Diritto al Gioco
Fammi giocare solo per gioco
Senza nient’altro, solo per gioco
Senza capire, senza imparare
Senza bisogno di socializzare
Solo un bambino con altri bambini
Senza gli adulti sempre vicini
Senza un progetto, senza giudizio
Con una fine ma senza l’inizio
Con una coda ma senza la testa
Solo per finta, solo per festa
Solo per fiamma che brucia per fuoco.
Fammi giocare per gioco.

Bruno Tognolini

The Right To Play
Let me play just for fun
Without anything else, only for fun
Without having to understand, without having to learn
without having to socialize
Only a child with other children
Without the adults always there
Without a project, without judgement
With an end but without the beginning
Only to pretend, only to cheer up
Only for the flame that burns because of the fire that plumps it.
Let me play for fun.

Bruno Tognolini