Via Munich (a great airport), I arrived in Florence around 12:30p EST today, Tuesday. Elia (sister) and Leone (new nephew) picked me up, and immediately I fell in love with little L. Newborns are just the cat's meow, especially when they have perfect lips, a cleft chin and are related to you. More than twelve hours, one nap, two meals, a trip to the market and some wine later, I am finally in bed in my rental apartment, just down the block from Elia's. My mom was here for twenty-six days, until yesterday; when I entered this place and found her notes and leftovers, coffee and gluten-free items, the adaptor shed'd left for me and the hair dryer hanging over a towel rack in her signature, looped-cord fashion, I felt her presence and wished she were still here.
How odd to overlap with your own mother in a singular apartment on a different continent. How strange and familiar to see her handwriting in a kitchen to which neither of us may ever return. How funny-sad to consider that our planes may have passed in the cloud-smocked skies somewhere between here and there.
Both of us came to do what family so often does: to help, to tend, to love, to be with in the moment. And today was so lovely in all of those respects.
El made me lunch while Leone napped and I briefly crashed. She concocted a glorious spaghetti with artichokes sautéed with garlic, parsley and white wine (above). I changed Leone's diapers, held and sang to him, helped bathe him, made a salad and some dessert for dinner tonight.
Michele, El's husband, arrived home just after we returned from an epic trip to Esse Lunga, a grocery store, laden with bags. He popped Prosecco and we "chin-chin'ed" each other happily.
He cooked his homemade pumpkin ravioli after we enjoyed appetizers of mozzarella di bufala, sundried tomatoes, and smoked salmon with toasts and creme fraiche. I face-timed with the boys, missing them dearly when I saw their sweet faces.
We took turns with the baby, just three weeks new and oblivious to adult schedules and patterns of time. It was easy and delightful, and suddenly, plum tart still in the oven, we realized the hour, and I realized my fatigue, and I kissed everyone Buona Notte and headed back to my empty apartment, an experience I've not had since I was a bachelorette in New York more than a decade ago.