Family Story

I don’t think I’ve written this story before, so when Julia referenced it on Facebook today, I thought I should write it up.

After our Thanksgiving dinner last night, I was looking for a quote for Facebook on families,and found this:

“Every family has a story that it tells itself, that it passes on to the children and grandchildren. The story grows over the years, mutates, some parts are sharpened, others dropped, and there is often debate about what really happened. But even with these different sides of the same story, there is still agreement that this is the family story. And in the absence of other narratives, it becomes the flagpole that the family hangs its identity from.”
~~ A.M. HOMES, O Magazine, Apr. 2007

Julia the Younger commented:  “ha, some families also have narratives in their mothers’/grandmothers’ language where parts get morphed and become the “true” line…”

And I knew exactly what story she was talking about.

My mother had her own way of making a point.  So – for example – when we were too demanding, she would say, “You want, you want, you want.  You know where the grass ‘I want’ grows, don’t you?’

The right answer was “In the Garden of Boboli.”

My kids used to say, “In the Garden of Stupidness,” which was annoying.  And wrong.  But in either case, the point was made.  Whatever it was, we weren’t getting it.

Another story for when we wanted something was handed down in Italian.  It involves a mother and her son.  It is acted out with some drama.

Mother:  (lovingly)  “Ah, vuoi brodo?” {Oh, do you want some soup?}

Son:  (enthusiastically) “Si, si, voglio brodo!”  {Yes, yes, I want some soup!}

Mother:  “Alora ~” {pause}  “Alora, fix-a-lo!” {clearly almost Italian for “Well then fix yourself some!”}

To which the little boy says, with a shrug, “Oh ~ no, no, non voglio brodo”  {No, i don’t want any soup.}

The story is tremendously useful.  Within the family, we rarely need to tell the whole thing – in the right circumstances, a raised eyebrow and the question, “Vuoi brodo?” is sufficient.

Sometimes the answer is “if you’re fixing it, I do.”

Sometimes, when I want something and I’m too lazy to get up and fix it myself, I even think it to myself, “Si, si, voglio brodo ~ but not that much.”

So I was only a bit dismayed, and mostly amused to realize, years ago, that my kids and my nephew, um, actually thought that ~ yeah ~ that “fix-a-lo” was Italian…

“Fix-a-lo.”  {laughing…}

But~ I have to admit ~

~ if I say it just right ~ and hold my hand like this

and wiggle it back and forth while I say it ~

“Fix ~ a ~lo!”

then I think it might be Italian too!

About Fausta

Trauma sensitive Consultant and Coach for Compassionate professionals who experience second hand trauma and are at risk of burnout so they can keep doing the work that matters to them and to the world.

Posted on November 25, 2011, in Memories Mother and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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