Caoimhe just turned 15 months, well... a couple weeks ago already. That is how long this blog post has taken to finish - in fact it kinda took a journey of its own, and not as much on paper, but in my head, and where my head has been these past weeks.
It started out when I was taking inventory of my daughters current skills, how she is desperate to communicate (but besides Mama, its only with enthusiastic grunts), how she has mastered walking and running, and is now trying her hardest to jump like her big bro. I was trying to recall how Francesco was at the same age - I remember this determined grunt phase, but can't remember when it was - I know he wasn't quite walking yet, but giving kisses left and right. He was able to hold and eat an ice cream cone on his own, and Caoimhe has never had the chance. I ended up doing what any parent in today's day and age does, and look back through the thousands of photos on my phone to Francesco at 15 months. Crazy as it seems, I don't actually have many videos of him at that time.
Instead it reminded me that just before Francesco was 15 months, we went on an amazing trip to Italy - first to Rome to see Tommy's family, and then on to Sicily to see extended family that I had yet to meet. It was also the final trip we took as a family of three. It took me down a rabbit hole of photos and memories: the beautiful towns we visited, Francesco happily watching the sea below our apartment, eating delicious foods. We've already talked about trying to get back to Sicily for another visit, the trip was such a lovely one, and I imagine we just brushed the surface in a week.
We are also so happy to have been able to introduce Francesco to the family in Sicily - and he was quite the charmer too - handing out kisses to everyone, making himself feel right at home. For me, the occasion was also heartfelt. Tommy and I had been together 7 years at that point, and I had never met these relatives that were so dear to him. I had heard stories, and surely the names had been said many times. When his Nonna passed away in 2014, he had been home for the funeral, and the Sicilian relatives had joined, but I wasn't able to be there. But now here I was, married into the family, introducing Francesco to his Italian heritage, and carrying the next baby in my belly. I felt spoiled with an outpouring of hugs, food, drinks and having homes opened up to us.
The irony of me going through these photos was also bittersweet, because we had just received news that morning, that Tommy's Godfather, and Sicily resident, had passed away. When Tommy broke the news to me, I felt heartbroken for my husband, and those dearest to him, who were left to mourn under obscure circumstances, and without loved ones around them. I was also so thankful that we took the trip when we did, and that Tommy had the chance to reunite with them after such a long absence.
But then this whole post got pushed to the back burner. We've also been in isolation/lockdown for over 2 months - and these past weeks it had clearly gotten to me. I was bumming out at my lack of patience, missing my freedom to roam a bit more either with or without kids, and feeling disheartened by the lack of planning that could be done to see family or friends for still the foreseeable future. I looked forward to the moments when my children would nap, and I could disconnect with a show on Netflix and a cup of tea - but this routine left little room for writing, or catching up with others. I finally kicked the funk when we went for a little drive one day, and wandered around the quiet streets of Silves, a nearby town. This little escape felt like a fresh page. The following morning I joined an online mothers circle - and I felt like I was officially back to my self again. I had energy during their naps, I baked a cake, sent messages to girlfriends...
Again, the irony came - because that same afternoon I received some heartbreaking news about someone very dear to me. Thankfully the rut I had found myself in was gone, and I could take this news in a more positive light. Yes, I still found myself tearing up out of nowhere, and Francesco asked me several times, "is Mama sad?", but I know how fortunate I am as well. Doctors are working hard to help my Oma fight the issues she is facing - but whatever happens, I have been so blessed to have her with me until now - and have been fortunate to fit in many visits with her in the past years. Francesco has been to her home in Phoenix on three separate trips - and don't even get my started on how amazing my Oma is with technology - we can FaceTime and Zoom with her, and she emails back little responses to the videos and pictures I send her of my children. I'm also thankful that despite Covid19, my mother and her sisters have found a way to be together with my Oma right now.
So to end this post - I'm reminding myself to never take those moments with loved ones for granted, traveling to spend time with family and friends is always a good idea, soak up all the little stages your children go through because they will become memories too quickly, and recharging with Netflix is definitely ok (and might even keep us sane sometimes). Do you have any advice to share?