An Italian family is like a blankie, the kind little ones gather and hold and rub against their cheeks when they are finally ready to surrender to sleep. You find the ultimate comfort from it. Both sides of your family are quilted together on your parent’s wedding day. The four corners of the blankie are held by each of your grandparents and the others fill in the rest of the spots.
You’re all sewn together by love. Sometimes, blood is a factor and sometimes it just isn’t. Family, after all, manifests itself in all sorts of ways. Through the years, the patches of the quilt start to fade. People pass away or get distracted or choose to jump out of the quilt, and your precious blankie starts to unravel. You might even go through a phase where you don’t think you need the blankie to survive. Then, you try to go it alone. Usually, you return and snuggle up to the blankie even more closely than before. But it’s always different than when you first took hold of it.
The years begin to pass and people come and go from the family. Some move onto Heaven and visit you in your dreams. Others simply move on without you. A few remain attached to the quilt. You will try to repair some of the rips, and half the time, you’ll find success. Still, the seam is never quite the same.
If you’re like me, you hold ever tighter to the blankie and feel profound sadness at any missing patches, tears, or worn out sections. You wanted your son to hold that blankie and experience it exactly as you did, but that’s simply not possible. As time passes you can’t make fixes fast enough and you start to lose your grip on the blankie. Sometimes, you feel as though you’re trying to hang onto it in the middle of a tornado that is swallowing you whole. The pillars in those four corners get weaker and weaker until they simply vanish. And you wonder if all you will be left with in the end is a swatch of fabric.
But there’s a secret to keeping your blankie in one piece and close by when you need it. You must accept that the blankie is always evolving, and you must continuously sew patches and make repairs – even when it seems useless – using the traces of your heart as thread. When you give love, you truly get it in return.
Di Meglio uses the written word to help families create memories and stick together. You can follow her on Facebook at Francesca’s Newlyweds Nest and on Twitter @ItalianMamma10.