Jordan and I have a lot in common aside from the fact that he's my boy. We both reside in Tweenersville. He will always live in the land between the hearing and the deaf and I now find myself between Italy and the USA. He isn't totally hearing nor totally deaf and after living in Grosseto for eleven years, I can't call myself totally American or completely Italian. When I go back to Baltimore there are things that drive me crazy and the same goes for living here; since I'm an optimist by nature, I try to concentrate on and live the best parts of both worlds.
Grosseto is the perfect place to raise a child like Jordan. The crime rate is almost non-existent, my kids play in the street outside my house until way past dark and I feel safe letting them do so. The public school system works well enough so I don't have to worry about which private school to send him to or in which neighborhood to live. There is NO competition between parents about who does what at what level or what achievement test their kids excelled in or "Oh, really that's what he scored, I'm sure he'll do better next time." I have been able to raise Jordan at his own speed and revel in his successes without that competition pressure beating down on me.
It also helped that I didn't give a shit what people thought of me as I screamed and repeated words, vocabulary, lessons, teaching moments and disciplined my child through the streets of Grosseto in broken Italian as people stared at me. Our language issues isolated both of us and we worked through them together, somehow managing to create our own communication mechanism. We understand each other telepathically. His favorite expression is, "you're not a normal Mamma!"
Normal is so boring...what is "normal?" I can tell you what is not "normal." When my mother-in-law and Luca's cousins came in for our wedding, I took them out for a manicure and a lunch with just the "girls." We went to Donna's,only now I can appreciate the irony because "donna" in Italian means "woman" in English. They looked at me and told me that was the first time they had ever "eaten out" for lunch, much less just with "the girls!" I remember thinking, "What the hell am I getting myself into?"
Living here is completely different than life in the States. There are no "girls' lunches out," instead I eat every lunch with my son or family at home and I feel my family on another level. Coming from a divorced family, we rarely had "family meals" and I used to love eating dinner at my friend Susan's house because her mom was an unbelievable cook and ALWAYS had family meals. I guess that inner child in me longed to feel part of a united family in all aspects. Jay, my blast from the past sent me an email two weeks ago and this is what he wrote:
Is there anything in the world that compares to marriage and parenthood? When it comes down to it, don't you and I each really have it all?
My first thought was, "What an amazing guy he has become!" My second thought was, "He is seriously whipped!":) And my third thought was- when my romantic side took over my evil other half, keeping in mind that I saw ENCHANTED for the first time yesterday and have the major hots for Patrick Dempsey along with the other desperate housewives of Italy- do we really ever completely appreciate all that we have while we have it? Can I really "have it all" when half of my family is in the USA? Will Jordan ever really have it all in TWEENERSVILLE? We're both working on it.