My (Italian) sister-in-law TESS posted a link today on Facebook about 7 reasons why growing up Italian is the best. It sparked a lot of memories in me from my own childhood.
Once an Italian, always an Italian. When you grow up in an Italian home, you travel all the way to adulthood with lots of rich events, activities, traditions, and relationships. The memories formed are big, bold, and beautiful (at least many of them, lol).
Although as an adult, I have created and designed my own NEW culture for myself and my family, my New York Italian background formed who I am. To create meaningful lifestyle design that means so much to me and my family today, I took the BEST of that upbringing and let go of the not-so-best, and added new practices, traditions, and creations to my life and home along the way.
Intentional Lifestyle Design is about being who you are, as you edit out what does not work anymore, and add what does. It’s creating the life YOU desire!
Being Italian and growing up in a noisy, spirited, sometimes cra-cra home– where you often had to fight for the last meatball– has made me the woman I am, the one who LOVES LIFE, loves food, loves to celebrate, loves people, loves entertaining, loves an event, loves espresso, loves making people feel cared about and special, and loves the journey. It has also made me the women who can spot trouble a mile away, and who stays clear of anything I recognize that will steal my peace and well-being. Today, I live a robust (but calm) life, and I follow the things that make for peace (and an occasional pizza)!
So HERE is my personal thought-burst of my own crazy Italian heritage, triggered by the Facebook post from my beautiful, magnificent, and very Italian, sister-in-law TESS!
My Italian Upbringing . . .
Weddings that put Hollywood to shame; dozens of people you call “Aunt” and “Uncle who aren’t really related; HUNDREDS of people you call “Aunt” and “Uncle who are; Italian ices after church; cannoli, hard rolls, and pastry every weekend; cousins you did not know you had; ziti and spaghetti served in giant dishes bigger than you thought existed; meatballs as big as your head; a mom who thinks about what she’ll make for dinner as she’s cooking breakfast, and who buys a few extra roasts for the freezer “just in case”; big words you don’t understand as a kid, and some you wish you didn’t; garlic and oregano on EVERYTHING; a house full of loud “company” all talking at once with everyone catching every word; being interrupted and never even realizing it; 200 people who have your back if anyone ever messed with you; little kids who play “bakery” way more than they play doctor or house; anisette and demitasse in those “tiny cups” after dinner; only REAL butter and the finest cheeses; Italian bread as a staple; ravioli and briciole as practically staples; kids who can drink wine at a meal but never coffee; big people who HAVE to pinch your cheek; uncles who give you a dollar for looking nice or for being a “Good Kid”; new Easter outfits for the girls complete with Spring coat, pretty dress, white gloves, fancy hat, and patent leather shoes & purse; cookouts in both the back AND front yards; fake flowers in the house; a Catholic bible with lots of dust on it; red pistachio nuts and antipasto served during T.V. baseball games; helping your dad “pick a good horse” at the track or OTB; a mom who’s perpetually on Weight-Watchers and has her hair “done” once a week; friends who want to come to your house ” ’cause it’s fun & never boring“; friends who don’t want to come to your house ’cause it’s “so loud”; “clean the house day,” so “No-one go anywhere”; “clean the yard day” so everybody hides; candy corn for the kiddies from the guy at the liquor store; olive loaf and spiced ham from the guy at the deli; parents who cuss; kids who cuss when their parents can’t hear; emotions showing up everywhere; bragging to your peeps that your relatives are “in the mob”; being embarrasesd that your mother is in her housedress; homemade cheesecake BAKED IN THE OVEN; home-grown tomatoes; homemade pizzza; Lots of FAMILY, FRIENDS, and BIG ITALIAN LOVE!