Today, I was going to compose a Mother's Day gift guide (read: personal wishlist)
But yesterday, my husband unexpectedly lost his dear great aunt Rose,
and such commentary suddenly seems frivolous.
Given that this wonderful, gentle woman
was much more like a grandmother figure in his life,
it seems far more fitting to honor her in this edition of "Mama Mondays".
Every strong family has a matriarch...
a woman who is a role model for future generations,
a woman who is nurturing, fair, and ever-present,
a woman who is not afraid to take charge,
a woman who puts others' needs before her own,
a woman, whom without, her family wouldn't be the same.
Since joining my husband's family in 2003,
I don't recall a holiday or special occasion
where Auntie Rose didn't play an integral part.
She never forgot your birthday.
She sent diaper coupons in the mail.
Whether it was a church spaghetti dinner or a family holiday gathering,
Rose was there.
She was the glue who held us together.
She would not only be one of the first to arrive (and offer a helping hand),
but she would also bring food. LOTS of food...
Italian cookies for my wedding reception,
fresh pizzas and whole salmon filets following the birth of a child,
cuddureddi at Christmas time,
and delicious meatballs, mostaccioli, and lasagna
for each and every celebration in between.
I will never again make spaghetti sauce or meatballs without thinking of her.
(Her secret was in the neck bones!)
And in her honor, I expect my husband and sons to tell me that each meal I make is "very good tonight!"
Every time I witness someone trip or spill something,
I will hear her sweet giggle and affectionately call them a "fessacchione"!
(Italian to English translation: big idiot)
With that being said, however, I don't think I ever actually heard Rose speak negatively of anyone in the 11 years I knew her. A devout Catholic, she was a true angel among us...always a ray of sunshine and positivity, with nothing but nice things to say and compliments to share....well, except maybe if you were a Democrat - ha!
I will think of her fondly with any mention of her beloved Padre Pio
and with each beautiful cross I see adorned on someone's wall.
I will consider any "Nigro" I meet to be my cousin, because that was Ro's M.O.
While Auntie was not a "mother" by dictionary definition,
she was most certainly a Nigro family matriarch...
a woman, whom without, our family will never be the same.
Her friendship, guidance, generosity, and love
have left a deep impression in my heart.
I will be sure to bestow her sweet spirit, Italian traditions, and strong faith
onto all the Nigro generations to come.
Arrivederci, Auntie, until we meet again!
~ photo by bits of breezy / image via Etsy ~