Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Italian Death March

I come from an extremely social background. I have tons of friends and an intensely gregarious family who are prone to large gatherings; an invite to dinner can mean several hours set aside for eating alone. Being embraced by the family is a goal all of us children have had for our significant others and/or friends. My stepfather is the hardest nut to crack; so if he likes you, you're in. And he just LOOOOOVVVEEES Eddie.

Ditto for my three nephews; the way they came flying out of the house and soaring into his lap the day we visited, was all the evidence I needed. My mother said that my youngest nephew, who is three and a half, factors Ed into all of his play scenarios. "Nana. I'm going to play outside and dig. When I'm digging up all the dirt, Eddie is going to run the backhoe, okay?" or "Nana. Next time we make pastini do you think we can make some more extra for Eddie?" or "Nana. When is Aunt Sleen coming home? Is Eddie coming too?" and "When Eddie gets here, can he play on the compooter with me?"

Eddie doesn't come from a very social family, so this is all new to him. Like my sister-in-law when she finally settled in to the family, he's gotten past the deer in the headlights look. He now knows that when aunts, uncles, cousins, my closest friends or my Mom kiss him the minute he walks in the door, it's a good thing. And when he gets a kiss and hug goodbye, sometimes several since it usually takes at least an hour to actually say goodbye, that's also a good thing. Now he's not stiff when the arms fly around him for a big hug; he actually hugs back. Every once in a while, when departing from a family visit, I hear him say "love you too!" in response to whoever last professed their love to him.

He is really realizing how extremely important the social aspect is to me. To us. I couldn't survive without it. I love how we are all in each others business and how we love to know what's going on in each others lives. At any given moment, Eddie and I have a place to go for a meal - between my mother in Arizona, my best friend in Nashville and my three Aunts in New York, we can get a smokin' great meal at several points along the way. Same thing for a place to lay our heads, if needed.

There is not a day that passes that I don't talk to one of my friends or someone in my family. Eddie is so aware of the desperate need for us to connect that just the other day he said, "So I guess the worst thing you can do to an Italian is take away all of their friends, huh?"

I never thought of it that way, but yeah, it would be. I would probably consider it a fate worse than death.

No comments: