My grandmother’s birthday party was this weekend. She just turned 81 years old and she’s the only grandparent I have left in my family. So, you know, it’s super important for me to find time to celebrate with her. Even if she’s like, the biggest curmudgeon you’ll ever meet. After a few glasses of wine (thanks to my mom, AKA vino addict with a full stock of Super Tuscans) my dear Nonna Maria became way more jovial as the night went on.
I mean, my grandmother’s life has been hard. She left her life in Italy to move to Canada when she was in her late teens. Already married. Her husband passed away tragically when they were only in their early 20s. She was left a single mom in a country where she didn’t know the language, to fend for herself. Luckily, her parents were also in Canada as they, too, moved away from Italy after the War. She worked in a factory her whole life to support her family. And even though she’s retired, she still never rests. She’s stoic. She doesn’t do her hair or nails. She only wears black. She’s like the typical Dolce & Gabbana character in their Sicily campaigns. Rosary in hand at all times.
My grandmother made all these sacrifices her whole life. She took care of her own mother, my great grandmother, up until last year when she passed away at the ripe age of one hundred years old! Now, my nonna is alone again – but not lonely. My mom, my sister and I want to make these last years, the best years for her. I am trying my hardest to convince her to get a manicure. My mom buys her new clothes (and she refuses to wear them). And we’re all slated to take a girls’ trip to Italy this summer – one of my great grandmother’s last dying wishes was that we do so.
Ever since turning this blog into a business, it’s been more challenging for me to write things from the heart. Firstly, many brands don’t like when I’m 100% me. They want editorial. They want the aesthetic to be “on brand.” They want the dream sold to you, wrapped up in a pretty little ribbon with macarons, Gucci Marmont bags and latte art. Which, is fine. It’s nice to dream and aspire to something beautiful (however constructed it may be) once in a while. However, for me, blogging will always be an open conversation with myself, and with the world. And it brings me joy.
My grandmother asked me last night, “How’s work? When are you leaving to go to the other place again?” She literally thinks every time I travel it’s to the same place. She doesn’t understand geography. Her talents consist of growing a tomato out of thin air and making fresh pasta. Even though my grandmother has no clue what I do, I can’t help but admit that if it wasn’t for her sacrifice to move to Canada, and to keep going despite all adversity, I wouldn’t be able to write this post here today.
Without her, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do something creative. To not have to worry about where my next meal is going to come from. To live in beautiful country like Canada where there is equal opportunity (at least more so than in my small town in Italy where women raise the kids, make the food and obey their husbands). The sacrifices my grandparents made in their lifetime have given me the platform to follow my dreams – and that is something I cannot waste. I cannot let their sacrifices be made in vain. I only hope that one day my grandchildren will look at me with the same gratitude and admiration.
Birthday Party Photos
We Need to Talk…
Do you guys like when I share these more intimate photos from my evenings with my friends and family? To be honest, I got the idea from (of all people) Kim Kardashian. I am loving her new style of editing more like Polaroid photographs and she often gives her readers behind-the-scenes looks into her life on her app. Ok, not that I’m some famous person who you guys care that much about… But I liked the idea and am trying it out here. Let me know if you dig it?