Happy Sunday! Tutti a tavola a mangiare! Growing up it was a Sunday ritual. Whatever you had planned when the clock said 2:00 p.m., the pasta was on the table, and if you weren’t there, you’d better have a good reason. The preferred reason was that you were working, at least in our house anyway. As we grew up the table expanded quite a bit. It was always a treat to have extra, unexpected guests. As the years passed we try to keep the tradition, but since my mom is getting older, we now take turns. The menu has made some changes since daddy has passed on, so when my mom (or Nonni as my kids call her) makes her traditional Sunday sauce, we’re overjoyed. (Yes, we call it sauce.)
This time our Sunday dinner turned into a little history lesson for my kids as well as for all of you. No matter how many times I hear my mother talk about her childhood, I always seem to learn something new. With each time I gain more and more admiration and respect for her. As you learn a little more of our family history firsthand, I hope this sheds some light on why at the Season 3 reunion when Teresa says that I’m part Gorga, my initial reaction was to say, “No, I’m not.” My response was foolish, of course, but not without a reason. My mother never really lived with her siblings, and when she was sent to live with her aunt, Teresa’s father wasn’t even born yet. Mom is seven years older than my uncle, and would only have brief visits. My mother met and married my father at 17 and then they moved to the United States. By the time my mother was reunited with Teresa’s dad as adults, she had her own family with five kids. That’s when they started to build a real relationship.
It’s so hard to understand sometimes how children were sent to live with other relatives, especially now that I’m a mother. However, I have learned that this happened quite often during those times. It must have been equally difficult for my grandmother too, and my heart breaks whenever I think of how she must have felt to have to give up her first-born daughter. My grandmother, Rosinella, lived until she was 96 years old, and when she was near her final days, my mom flew to visit with her and assure her that she had made peace with her childhood and never held my grandmother to blame for being sent to live with her aunt. It was closure for my mother and for my grandmother as well. By the time my mother returned from her visit, she received a call that my grandmother was at peace and had passed on. Forgiveness is freeing for both the one that is forgiving and the one who needs to be forgiven. I’m so glad you all get to see the extraordinary person that my mom is. I don’t even mind sharing her a little with all of you, because now everyone can see how special she really is. I am truly blessed.