Everything I’ve Ever Wanted.
I walked through the streets lauded with aplomb. Smiles and shouts of “brava!” and “bravissima!” echoed across the cobblestone, to the extent that I worried my 6-month-old might let it go to her head.
One woman actually clapped and I laughed, shrugging, claiming “è niente,” it’s nothing, above the protests of my sciatic nerve and that crevasse between my shoulder blades screaming, “It most certainly is something! You’ll pay for this later.”
Never mind that my kid is in the 99th percentile for length, 82nd for weight, and that my abs effectively separated vertically down the center while I carried her on the inside. That hasn’t stopped me from carrying her on the outside, wrapped and strapped to my chest like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man while I hold — and here’s the kicker — a 60-pound mutt leashed in each hand. Apparently we’re quite the site as my dogs walk us through the medieval corridors of Ferrara to the periodic sound of actual applause. In my head I’m all, “Americans call this multitasking, Italy. This is just an average Tuesday.”
If we’re being honest, “Get ‘er done” isn’t a catchphrase, it’s an all-American way of life” — one I’m hard-pressed to let go of entirely, lest I lose myself completely in daily 2-hour wine-soaked lunches followed by a shot of espresso and a placid, late afternoon stroll while my stomach acids do their thing.
I’m beginning to think that nearly literally breaking my back just so I can squeeze the dogs in for a walk after the kid eats but before she needs a nap is a surefire path to a miserable existence.
Even when it comes with the perk of applause.
And I know in my heart-of-hearts that things cannot go on like this. As a nation, Italy is young. But as a people, she’s old enough to know a thing or two about how to live. Clearly, she’s not going to adapt to me. And so the irony is that the most efficient way to learn to adjust to living in a bureaucratically inefficient place is to surrender completely.
My man and my baby walking home after dinner.
A server at lunch one day told Justin and I that he was about to ask us a question. And it was very important, very important, that we answer with, “Why not?”
And then he offered us a digestivo of homemade liquor from his hometown in the South of Italy. And Justin and I aren’t shot people. We’re not even liquor people. And Makenna was napping beside us in her carrier. And it was barely past noon.
And that’s the thing about living here. About learning to be in the moment. About resisting resistance.
The liquor burned our throats. I think my chest might have sprouted a hair.
And still, perché no?
Because, truth-be-told, I’ve reached the somewhat terrifying realization that I have everything I’ve ever wanted. (Aside, you know, from a chic Italian wardrobe, fluent grasp of the language, and several best-selling novels under my belt.)
And it feels like a cusp. A transitionary precipice beyond which everything is blank.
And if I’d just learn to let go, to jump and trust the flow, I might really begin to enjoy the ride.