There are many things I miss about living with Nonna…freshly laundered clothes… an unbelievably clean house… good family gossip. However, I do not miss living life as an indentured servant.
While Nonna is one of the most generous people I’ve ever met…her generosity comes with a price. Any thing she needs done must be done when she says it, how she says it, where she says it. For example. if she needs you to get eggs you cannot simply go to the Acme which is 1/4 mile from the house after you go for your run (note: she asked you to get eggs while your headphones were on). No. You must go to her dairy farm which is 4 miles from the house because you can get the eggs for 30 cents cheaper. Forget the rising costs of gas. Forget convenience. Eggs must be purchased at the cheapest price. Or if she needs her bills paid, the check must be written at the exact minute she decides, regardless if you are eating spaghetti and meatballs and can’t understand why you are writing her third quarter tax check three months before its due. In her point of view…you owe her for all the beautiful things she does for you from the bottom on her heart.
The only way to get out of her beckoning is to inform her that you are working. Now, don’t get me wrong, my job requires me to work a little bit at night on occasion…but, in Nonna’s eyes…I work non-stop. I only stop working to work out, feed and spend quality time with her. Then…like clockwork at 9:00, I must return to work. She admires my hardworking tenacity…and declines to give me her beckoning due to my ambition. She doesn’t want to stop me from “being somebody.”
Now before you all start telling me I am ungrateful and I should be so lucky to pay her back for all the things she does for us…let me share a little tid bit from my currently unemployed sister. Perhaps this will enlighten you as to why I often chose pretending I was conducting research when I was actually watching Modern Family…
It goes without saying that Nonna loves to be in control. Whether its controlling what she is making for dinner, or the remote (or depending on the time of day, remoteS), my social life, and more recently… my conversations.
This morning I woke up at 10am (sorry for those of you who are employed). After enjoying my iced coffee (freshly brewed by the little Nonna), my entire day was taken from me within minutes. Between the hours of 6am and 10am, Nonna determined my schedule of events for the day. First up: I drove her to a neighboring town so she could pick up a check, from Italy. Then, I came home mowed her lawn (in the rain), paid her bills, and attempted to balance her checkbook. After that, I believed I was entitled to a break. So, I told her I was going to the gym. She handed me envelops. Was I actually getting paid for my services in something other than coffee and dinner? No, instead I was asked to drop off more bills at the mall.
Prior to leaving I offered to stop at the dry cleaners, where Nonna keeps herself entertained by sewing alternations. Naturally, she thought it was a brilliant idea. Particularly because the man she works for is Indian, and listened to Nonna talk about all of my adventures over the year. Nonna was excited by the chance for us to converse (and for her to brag a little extra about how wonderfully conversational I am…as Nonna says I have the gift of (points to tongue)).
Nonna: Honey, what are you gonna say to my frien?
Me: I don’t know, probably just ask him if he has anything for you.
Nonna: NO IS NOT. He is my FRIEN and he indian, don you hava no respec?
Me: Well no? But I don’t really see why I need to think about it now.
Nonna: I thinka you should practice.
Nonna: You gonna tella me what you gonna say.
Me: No I’m not.
Nonna: YES it is!
Unlike my sister, who would have allowed Nonna to dictate what she would say..I just left. Its one thing to schedule the amount of things she needs me to do in a day… but just because I was in Asia for a year doesn’t mean I don’t know English… Last I checked I could talk to a brick wall, without her help.
When I got home, she wanted to know what I said…I kept my mouth silent. A little mystery goes a long way with her.
In the future, I will probably just start telling her I am babysitting for the day. At the very least, it might get me out of mowing the lawn during rain storms.