Typically, I visit Italy once a year. When I say this to a stranger, they usually tell me I'm lucky. And I do feel really lucky. I know I'm lucky. By the time I leave after my 10-14 days of travel, lucky is mixed in with about five other emotions, expressed by crying myself to sleep and overthinking my life and everything in it.
Growing up, I was always jealous of kids talking about going to their grandparents' house. It sounded like a dream: going to nonna's house after school. If my grandmas had lived in the U.S., I'd be at their house everyday. I'd be raiding their refrigerators, asking them questions about my grandfathers, and begging them for insight on my parents as kids. This isn't a cry for empathy, it's really just a thought I've always wrestled with: what if I didn't have to pack all my love into a suitcase and hurriedly do all the above in 3 weeks or less? It would be a dream. But it's not the way my life is. I'm not that lucky.
I feel like I'm telling a lie when I say I immigrated here just under a year old. I didn't do anything. My brave parents gathered a few of mine and my sister's belongings and flew over to the U.S. As time would go on, we'd have two uncles here in Cleveland and three cousins. As my parents built a life, we'd have tickets every so often to go visit the rest of our family over the summer in Italy. Lucky.
Traveling through Italy to visit our family can be tiring; we have family in different cities and I want to use my time to see everyone, even if not always possible. This past trip afforded me 4 days each in each city where I caught up with my family. We hugged, we laughed, we cried. My family, both sides, my mom and dad's side, we're close. I don't mean that as in we all communicate. I mean that I have so much love for every single person in my family. I mean that our bond is unbreakable and we will never be estranged. I mean that I'm so lucky, but by the end of the trip I don't feel lucky, because I have to say goodbye.
I'm cautious of the future. In some ways, it terrifies me because it involves decision-making and planning, two things of which I'm not the best at. In other ways, it terrifies me because it's unpredictable. It isn't guaranteed that life will be the same, that the same people existing in our lives right now will be here in one year, two years, or ten years from now. It isn't guaranteed that if they are here, you'll see them. That you'll share the same bond. That terrifies me more than anything. Maybe that's why, aside from being such a sensitive person, I can't fully spill. I'm afraid to show how I really feel, how I really love, how much I really care for others because I'm terrified as I do, they'll naturally distance themselves. The course of life and its timing and its tragedies will come between us. It has happened before.
But as much as it is important to think about the future, I think the best I can do is to focus on the present. Because if I focus on the here and the now, maybe the future will naturally become clearer. It will naturally unfold, yes? And so I am lucky. I am so lucky, to have family in another country, the most beautiful country in the world, and that I'm able to see them once a year, instead of never at all. And maybe in my goodbyes in the future, in my dance of emotions when I leave, I can be more present. I'll ask myself, am I lucky? Yes. Was this beautiful? Yes. Did I spill myself onto them?
I should always be able to say yes.
That's my future promise.
I like to write; point blank. This is a little piece of me that I get to share with the rest of the world, and hey, you know, maybe you'll appreciate it, maybe it'll do nothing for you. But my writing exists, and that's enough for me.
© 2019 Silvia Iorio. All rights reserved.