Friday, April 23, 2010

2 Years

Two years ago from April 22, I left school on time and drove to my grandparents' house not 5 minutes away. Poppop was dying, and he was in good, caring hands back in the very house in which my dad, uncles, and aunt had grown up and cultivated so many memories. That house hosted so many family reunions and Christmas parties that it was forever associated with joy, but on that day, I remember being so afraid of walking through the door, as if one could sense an impending separation from that indoor sunshine. The mood was light, only because Poppop always considered himself a "burden" & wanted to, despite the situation, maintain a level of calm.

So when I walked upstairs to see him, I had no expectations for the site. They had him propped up in a hospital bed. My grandparents' bedroom was all disheveled. Aunt Mary & Mommom were there as Poppop asked how my day was, how the boyfriend was, etc., all of the normal inquiries. Of course he wasn't the same, but he still tried to wear a smile, my Poppop who was known for his riddles and his jokes, his unconditional love for his grandchildren, his paternal passion for his children, & his eternal love for his wife.

When I say Poppop cannot be compared to any other grandfather, I'm not exaggerating. He battled cancer like no other, and he was strong throughout. He always sported that smile, and he always bought these crazy mugs against squirrels and their thievery of his birdseed. We all loved him very dearly.

I know for a fact I did not know him as well as I could have. For some reason, as a child, I always felt vastly inferior to everyone around me, and I had a fear of disappointing my grandfather. We grew up in a family of accomplishment, and there were times when I felt I didn't even meet the average. Though it's obvious that Poppop didn't care, I allowed the pressure to overwhelm me.

I really, really, really should not have.

He said he loved me, and this seemed like a sign in which he was trying to say his final good-bye. I, the non-believer, just smiled and said, "I'll see you Thursday, Poppop," and then kissed him good-bye.

I really thought I'd see him that Thursday. I really thought Tuesday wasn't the final good-bye. We were wrong.

That Thursday wasn't such a bad schoolday. I had checked my phone in the morning only because I liked to wish my boyfriend of the time a good day, and used to love receiving those little surprise texts from him. If I had only checked it passed a certain point, I might've realized my mom had called me. Once the 3 pm dismissal bell rang, I didn't check my phone, but instead hung out with my friends until the crowds in the hallway dispersed. I then called my mom back, and she told me as calmly as possible that Poppop had passed away not a few hours before. She tried to reach me, but alas, "I was in school."

It's another one of those moments people believe they may never have to experience. And me, sheltered little, in-a-bubble-at-the-Mount girl finally dove head-first.

I remember a lot of wailing, a lot of tears, a lot of me sliding down my locker and not knowing what to do, and pressing my legs to my chest, and only looking up when Sister Kathleen asked me what was wrong. This nun was my favorite; the president of our high school, she had the heart of the Mother Teresa herself. She stayed with me for a while and got me back on my feet--"He loved you very much, sweetie, I know he did"--and made sure I made it to the car.

The next destination was Poppop's. The drive is hard to recall, but when I finally reached the house, I remember walking in and first seeing my Aunt Mary, and breaking down yet again--"I never really got to say good-bye, I never really got to say good-bye" "He knew you loved him, and he loved you, too".

The viewing, the funeral, and everything afterward--nothing felt the same. My dad delivered the eulogy at the funeral. He had cried before, and I'd only seen him cry twice in my whole life--this time, and another time when a family member basically took my dad's love & threw it back in his sweet face.

When your mom cries, you don't think as much of it as when your dad cries. He's the strong, rational, "masculine" one. He holds your mom while she cries, not the other way around. It broke my heart to say him so emotionally-drained, and I remember he grabbed me and one point and sobbed, and I sobbed with him.

All I know is, I miss my grandfather more than anything, and although I always preach the antihesis of the following statement to my friends: I have regrets, and I wish I could rewind time.

But Poppop wouldn't want this. He would want us to live our lives to the fullest, which is what I will strive to do. In his honor. As my dad wrote in his eulogy, Poppop showed us how to live and how to love. We should always and forever emulate that.

"When you cry, you cry alone, but when you smile, the world smiles with you."
-R.I.P. Robert

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Egg-sperience

In the world of breakfast foods, eggs can assume many forms, specifically:

  1. Scrambled,
  2. Hard-boiled, &;
  3. Sunny-side-up.
Personally, I used to avoid eggs at all cost, until the day an ex of mine made me scrambled eggs one morning. Graciously accepting the meal rather than politely declining, I finally tasted the eggs without so much as turning up my nose. They were phenomenal, as heavenly as bananas' foster french toast, as delectable as the crowd-pleasing monkey bread, and as sensational as my mother's critically-acclaimed cheesecake.

Really, they were darn good eggs, and to this day, I have not had a plate of scrambled eggs please me as much as they did that morning. Kudos to the chef, of course. Without him, I would never have the moxie to try them.

So, after tasting this fashion of cooked eggs, I developed an affinity for tasting eggs in all sorts of manners. As a result, I came to the conclusion that eggs can be a nice metaphor for people and personality types.

For example, let us begin with scrambled. When you hear the word "scrambled," the following adjectives quickly resonate in one's mind: "struggling," "scurrying," "muddle," "confusion," and "scrabble."

So, someone who cannot manage to find their path in life--someone who suffers from an identity crisis--are very much like scrambled eggs. They are facing the identity moratorium stage of life. Picture one of your friends, quite probably an excessively indecisive one, who has no motivation simply because he/she cannot find motivation. As a flibbertigibbet, this person may be a little scatter-brained, since so much is thrown upon them that their Life Code, if you will, can't be deciphered despite trying many different combinations. Your friend couldn't tell you what he or she wants to do in the future, much less how he or she likes his or her eggs. Of all the egg forms to be categorized as, this sounds like the most internally aggravating.

Hard-boiled eggs avoid the kerfuffle of scrambled eggs. They're pretty black-and-white, usually possessing a tough outer shell that, once cracked, will reveal a soft and vulnerable interior. These are the people whom you can just observe in passing and think to yourself, "Well, someone thinks he's/she's just the bees knees, as strong as 300 Spartans and as emotionally stable as a robot!" Well, ponder again. Inside, you might find a stormy and subfusc individual. Put them in a situation in which their one fear is present, and they may break completely.

If hard-boiled eggs are like ticking time bombs, then the sunny-side-up folks are clones of Po, the Teletubby. As the description implies, such people seem to carry a smile through all manner of circumstances because their core is like the sun, brightening the earth and keeping the rest of us from experiencing a serious emotional ice age. These are the people whom you aim to stick around, and these are the people whom you aspire to be at all times. Optimism is a cure for the worry-wart: for the most part, sunny-side-up kids are just glad to be alive, and that's all they require as a driving force.

But the question is, which are you? 

Friday, April 9, 2010


This year, two friends had a ladybug infestation in their room. They multiplied like rabbits. Of course, the girls expressed their trepidations about the rapid proliferation of ladybugs.

Ladybugs are virtually docile insects, and have a tendency to be synonymous with luck. Why would an infestation be so troublesome then?

Well, if ladybugs are generally associated with luck, then these beautiful critters can be applied to the dating world.

For example--and I swear my grandmother either fabricated this tale, or stole it from elsewhere--my grandmother uses ladybugs to describe the opposite sex. She claims that one day as a little girl, she chased ladybugs. After being unsuccessful, she fell down in the middle of a field and allowed herself to slip into a slumber. When she awoke, she was covered in ladybugs.

The lesson? Expect the unexpected: don't spend life waiting around for good to fall upon you. Rather, just FORGET ABOUT IT, and all of the sudden, you will be blessed.

After my grandmother enthusiastically divulged this piece of her childhood (in a desperate attempt to teach me a high school lesson), I experimented with this theory. Most of the time, it worked. The problem? Don't snatch each ladybug that lands upon you; the ladybug world is vast and for the most part unexplored, so you should probably welcome some other guests.

And if that ladybug actually turns out to be a hostile bumble bee, do not simply stand rigid and await it to leave your presence. Take action; grab a massive fly swatter and some bug repellant, and end that sucker's buzzing. Come on. Do you really want a bee sting?

Of course, if you're brave, and quite vindictive, perhaps you would rather be stung by the bee, which will die instantly post-stingage. Justice! Theoretically, you're liable to "win" either way.

Lately, the bee population triumphed over the ladybugs. From a positive viewpoint, the abiliy to distinguish friendly bug from a foe gradually became clearer. After a few ladybugs and/or bumble bees, you suddenly realize that once those ladybugs land on you in that dreamy field, you can flick a few away and allow the others to remain. Hopefully, the ones you might desire to stick around won't fly away so soon. After all, ladybugs are decently difficult to ensnare once they fly away, and if you chase after them, well ... don't be selfish.

"Nicoletta, you just wait. You just wait, and you'll get that ladybug."

Thanks, grandmom.