The pitbull in me will never die

It’s now 17 days until my mother gets here, and 21 days until my sisters arrive; the countdown to the dream that I didn’t dare dream, but that is actually coming true, has begun, in 2014, the year Luca turns 18 and becomes an adult. Luca is big and strong, but despite that he remains eternally little in his own unique Luca way. Only his magical draw was able to extract a ‘yes’ from all four at the same time; to convince them to leave behind work, husbands, kids, boyfriends and dogs to come and celebrate his birthday. Well… Luca, along with my legendary capacity to be a royal pain in the ass.

Every year my mother comes for her eldest grandchild’s birthday, except for the year she had to have brain surgery - but that was pretty decent excuse. My sisters, for the simple fact that there are three of them, they work quite a lot and are always broke, have never come here all together, and even rarely one at a time.

One morning last summer in Becket, my friend Richard called to say hello, and remarked, ”this year Mr. Shmoo turns 18, we should plan a big party for him!” That’s when I started thinking that the best party would be the one my mother and my sisters could be part of. It was obviously an absurd idea; like thinking it would be nice if the pope showed up, took off his shirt to reveal buff muscles, and started stacking wood for me.

As a joke I sent a message to the ‘Sisters’ group we had set up to chat on Whatsapp. But the more messages I sent, the more I thought that maybe, maybe MAYBE it could actually happen. I started harassing them, making proposals, promises, sharing ideas, and thoughts. My sisters replied saying things like: “That would be so cool!”, ‘Mom would just die”, “You know Dan will leave you if we’re all there together...”. Funny, but not exactly the commitment I was looking for.

By three o’clock I already had the bed assignments established, and had planned whose turn it was to cook and to clean up the kitchen each night, when and where to go shopping, and when just the five of us would go to Becket.
That night, I was up all night.

I am known as a major pain in the ass, because when I have something in mind, I don’t give up. It’s how I convinced Dan to marry me, for example, or to have three children, a dog… and then another dog. I am like a pitbull: I don’t let go of my prey.

Anyway, to make a long story short, they will be here on the 14th, in exactly 21 days. My mom will be here a week earlier, on the 7th, because she wants to be here for Luca’s birthday. Then they all leave on the 21st: 7, 14, 21: just like the times table for 7; because logic is found everywhere, even in my crazy ideas.

The pre-arrival excitement started a few days ago; Emma sent her nonna and her three aunts (who she doesn’t really know) a sweet letter in which she pretended to ask how they were doing, but she really just wanted to remind them to bring Kinder chocolate, her favorite. As Anna said, Kinder is the official sponsor of this crazy trip. Luca, despite the silence of his disability, can recite when asked, the list of who is coming: “Nonna Franca, zia Nanna, zia Sere and zia Tata”. He ends his list with a “hi sweety!”, which is what he says to my mother every time they talk. Sofia keeps asking when they are coming, and if I am nervous; and in her innate shyness, she tries to hide the obvious happiness she feels about seeing me and my family all together. She said she can’t wait to see my face when they are all here.

Every time Dan tries a new recipe he says: “I should make it again when they’re here!” Every time we go out to a bar he says: “You should take them here!”. Every time we watch a movie: “We should watch it again when they are all here!” My friends all told me that when they arrive, they want to come and see us all together. I bet if I charge each visitor a dollar, I could start raising money for the next trip!

I can’t remember ever being so excited: I already changed my mind twenty times about where each of them should sleep (the space is limited...); In my head I already daydreamed a million times the moment when the three sister come out of the automatic doors at Logan Airport, with me and my mom waiting there. I imagine the tsunami of adrenaline flooding into my brain, my blood and into all angles of my heart. Just at that very second when they walk out of that door. I’m sure they’ll already be laughing and will immediately ask to smoke.

The excitement is also being felt on the other side of the Atlantic. My mom has already put aside things she wants to bring, and acquired some Kinder chocolate. She asked me three times already if it will be cold, as if I can predict what the weather will be like in 17 days. My sisters have already asked me to order the body oil that I always bring them when I go to Milan, that can only be found at the Middle Eastern store on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. They’ve also started with all the “how much is the iPhone 6 over there?” “Is the iPad cheaper?” kind of questions.

Here is what Anna posted on facebook after applying for the Visa to enter the US:
“After having declared that:
-       I don’t have serious infectious diseases,
-       I am not a terrorist and I have never been one,
-       I am not a spy,
-       I have never sold illegal drugs,
-       I have never kidnapped minors,
-       I was never expelled from the US
-       I was never deported by the Nazis
-       I was not a victim of persecution
-       I am not looking for work in the US
-       I am not intending to bring in chemical weapons

President Obama, the CIA and the FBI granted me permission to go celebrate my nephew Luca’s 18th birthday. This, among other things, gives me a great deal of satisfaction”.

Anna is always right: this is a proud moment.

(badly translated from Italian by me, but perfectly edited by Dan)

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