Nonna is not one for new years’ resolutions…she is one for telling others what their new year’s resolutions should be. For example, after my freshman and sophomore year of college increased my weight to 30 lbs over what I was in high school…Nonna informed me my new year’s resolution should be to lose weight, in front of my entire family. She has told my sisters that they should be nicer, be more peaceful and, of course, everyones’ resolutions should involve seeing Nonna more.
Notwithstanding her propensity to direct others goals, one resounding New Year’s tradition is her wishing other people a “happy new you.” While this is a cute play on her inability to pronounce english words correctly, I think, in a way, this sums up what my Nonna is about. Undoubtedly, my grandmother has given us great laughter and many life lessons, but she has also taught all of us, her grandchildren, children, and friends a like, about how to rediscover oneself, find strength and invent a new you when everything else is lost.
You see, for as much joy as she has brought her friends and family, she has struggled – losing a mother and a husband very young, losing friends and family too soon along the way and seeing her children and grandchildren struggle through many life hardships. Yet, through each tragedy she has found a way to reinvent herself and adjust her life to accommodate for the change. When her mother died when she was 12, Nonna became the mother to her family. When her husband died when Nonna was in her thirties, she became the sole breadwinner. And when tragedy struck each time thereafter, Nonna reinvented family traditions, became an additional parent, friend, housekeeper and…as my aunt lovingly calls her, a wife to wives. Each hopeless situation was a call to duty, a way to step to the plate and become a “New You.” While she attributes her strength in recreating herself and in moving forward to God, I think much of it (no disrespect to Jesus) has to do with her will to survive and thrive. Where so many of us would be broken by tragedy, she moves forward, marking each event as another wrinkle in her life. My grandmother’s life is much like her hands: it is both smooth and deeply scarred, marked by hardwork, tenderness and covered in the purest love. It is both beautiful and bitter…sassy and sweet.
Friends, the time has come to move forward from this blog. Life and distance makes sharing these stories more difficult in this medium. I can only hope that you will continue to revisit this site when you need laughter, and hope that when you return you will see the lessons underlying her craziness, the joy that my grandmother gets from living and the love that underlies it all.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for being faithful readers and friends. I hope you all become “New You”s when life becomes challenging…and I hope you all simply remember Nonna’s number one life rule…laugh through it all.
Oh and…don’t take your pants down for no one.