Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Just Who Will You Be?

Paotie:
Don't be jealous, Rachel has only been hit on by a guy a day every day since she's been here. I am protecting her, although sometimes I'm the instigator *wink* (Don't worry Melissa, they're all under the age of 40 *smile*)
By the way, not all Italian guys are gay...(they might look gay (it's a European style thing - like they all wear tight jeans), but they're not)
Besides, Rachel confessed her undying love for you...to me
*just joshin' ya*
*licking lips and blowing kiss*
Must move on...things to write.
Love,
Jodi

Hurricane Rachel blew into town, and I must say, she is just not a hurricane. She's more like a miniature doll...that causes a tremendous rush of maternal instinct to just explode in ya...and she packs a helluva lot of brain power. She has totally taken over my computer - she goes to bed later than I do, and I must say, I can't stay up until 4 anymore after Dublin. So, my blog has been on hold.

Having Rachel with us has been like having our very own personal paparazzi. She never leaves home without her four cameras and is always snapping shots...of everything, my mother-in-law's tomatoes included. Check out her travel blog for some interesting pix of Tuscan life here in good old Grosseto. Btw, people think we're famous *smile*.

A lot has happened in the past week, it feels like a year has passed. One thing that really touched me was a letter I received from my Dad with a surprise book inside. You have to understand that the only mail I ever receive from my Dad is Rally Caps related, so this was quite a shock.

It's kind of a personal letter, but I just want to share the first paragraph:

Jo...

Please take 30 minutes to read this wonderful book by Maria Shriver. You may then want to go back and re-read certain pages that you have marked. You may also choose to use some of her poetry in your own speeches in the future. Or personally, it may help you through this phase of your life, this crisis, and this growth period and help you find out "Just Who You Will Be."

Love,
Dad

For me, there is no greater gift (other than when a man blogs for you) than to receive a book from someone, especially one with an important message from the heart. I haven't been the greatest daughter lately, actually, I've been downright shitty, but I need space to figure myself out and all of my parents apparently (smile) understand this. I am deeply grateful for that.

I think I've blogged about the idea that we sort of have our lives mapped out for us from the time we're born: Play sports in high school, get good grades, go to college, get good grades, be the best over-achiever you can be, get a job, get married, have kids, stay really sickeningly happy for the rest of your lives until you die.

I've discussed roles and how our roles define WHAT we are: Jordan and Sofia's mom, English Teacher, Luca's wife, American in Tuscany, etc.

Somewhere Jodi got lost.

My mom used to tell me, "Jodi, you sound just like your father."
My dad used to tell me, "Jodi, you sound just like your mother."

I went through the majority of my life trying to please the rest of the world. Maybe in following my pre-ordained life of high school, college, marriage and kids, I never stopped to figure out exactly who the hell was Jodi.

I was talking to Rachel about all of this stuff and had her read Maria Shriver's book - it takes about 20 minutes to read - and we discussed other options that deviate from that pre-laid path to the American Dream of "Happy-ness."

Just think...I spent 15 days in Dublin, all expenses paid and actually got paid to do it. Did the same thing last year in London with four students...there are so many deviations from the path that will lead you to different experiences. My kids will know that they do not have to follow the path. They can take that road lesser travelled, because it does make all the difference.

Sometimes you consciously choose to deviate and sometimes you end up on the yellow brick road searching for the wizard of Oz, begging and pleading to be able to return to Kansas.

But Anyway.

I have reached this point in Maria's book:
"Many of you may also feel that you're scrambling to fulfill your roles in everybody's life but your own. You may feel you're not entitled to show up as anyone but the perfect student, the perfect son or daughter, the perfect spouse or partner, the perfect employee or parent.
You may believe you're not allowed to think of yourself as separate from your job, your family, and all the other legacies you inhabit.
But what I've come to understand is that we are first and foremost human beings in our own right. We're entitled to our own lives, our own dreams and goals, our own legacies..."

Finally, 36 years later (Rachel thought I was 40. I told her to leave. But she thought Luca was 35, so he insisted she stay.) I am finding myself, learning a little more about Jodi.

I've clicked and kicked and hurled those ruby red slippers against the wall, but I still need to figure out the answer to that question, "Just Who Will You Be?"

4 comments:

Melissa said...

Jodi,

Glad to hear all is well. I've been having cell phone frustrations so had told Rachel I'd call tonight but couldn't get through from either phone. Most of us in the U.S. so seldom call outside the country that I think I'm inept at figuring out what numbers to call.

I'm glad to hear that you're enjoying having Rachel. Don't take the 40 comment personally. In my 40s, I'm one of the younger ones of her friends' mothers, and so I think it was just hard for her to fathom a parent not even 40!

I'm glad you're figuring out who you are now. It hits all of us eventually as we go through years of being wife and mother that keep us so busy that we don't have time to think of ourselves. Then, we wake up one day, and our kids are almost grown, and we can't remember who we were before they came along. If you figure that out now, you'll be ahead of many!

Melissa

Stephen said...

Hi Jo.....glad u enjoyed the book...pretty appropriate at this time don't u think? Maybe u can exchange "signed" books with Maria sometime!..."Just Who Will You Be?" was just another turn of fate in our lives. Go Oprah!
Love u and I can't wait to see u, Lu and the kids in 7 days! Sorry I missed Rachel. She sounds amazing! Please have Maura save some of those beautiful tomatoes for Nauno Steve. Dad

Anonymous said...

Hi, Jodi..
as a beautifull human being, as a wonderfull woman, mother, wife, daughter, you got lost trying to find your path..
Me, as a man, husband, father, son, got lost..
I've always thought that I was a very sensitive, wise, strong, bright man.
I've always thought that, just being your husband, the father of our kids, your lover, will have made you the happiest woman in the world..
I was wrong...
Thru all this, I became selfish, weak, stupid.. I made mistakes.. I keep making mistakes.. I'll probably keep making mistakes..
I didn't understood. I've always been wise.. Why I didn't understood?
People have always seen us like the perfect couple. I thought that that was enought, I thought that you'll have been mine forever.. But you are not someone that I can own.. you've made my life wonderfull, but you didn't lived yours..
a perfect relationship is when we live our lives, walking together, sharing and sometimes finding compromises, is it?.. So why I didn't understood all of this?
I couldn't think, I couldn't see, I couldn't hear..
After all we went thru, after all I made you go thru, You're still here.
as a beautifull human being, as a wonderfull woman, mother, wife, daughter you'll find your path. I'll do all I can to walk that path next to you..

Luca

Ps. Melissa,
it has been a pleasure knowing and having Rachel with us. She is wonderfull. It is true, as Jodi said, that sometimes we considered her like our own daughter. The other day, we were at a pizza place, and I even ask her if she wanted me to cut her pizza.. She is a lovable girl (she is even more lovable after she told me that I looked 35 years old!).

Naomi said...

oh jealous now...roll on December for my turn!!!