After just 4 days with the Bionic Nonna telling me who to go pick up and when, I feel myself getting just a tad bit nervous. I do what I always do in these situations, I get my track shoes out of the garage and go for a long hard run. By dinner time I’m feeling much more relaxed. My mom adores Nonna and listens politely even though she doesn’t speak Italian. My sister-in-law calls and asks if she can invite a friend from Monte Carlo to dinner.
Of course, I say.
When her friend comes my daughter eyes light up, she follows me into the kitchen and whispers ‘Auntie’s friend is soooooo beautiful, she looks like Barbie!’
Barbie whose name is not really Barbie but we will call her this for practical reasons, is actually really nice, (gag) but for some reason gets caught up on one subject..beauty.
She asks me ‘tell me what your secret is’ I don’t have any secrets, so I smile big and move closer to my husband and empty his wine glass. Turns out that our new friend is a trained and licensed personal trainer. Which is a huge relief considering she looks like a smaller version of Elle Macpherson. She goes back to her line of questioning.
‘What do you use on your skin?’ I reply ‘depends..’
She laughs and says, ‘no really?’ I would like to tell her, but the truth is I filled my make-up bag with every single sample I’ve been given in the last 6 months so I’m not exactly sure.
She asks me how I keep so thin.
I reply ‘Easter.’ and that’s when realize that maybe I’ve had too much wine.
Barbie makes a very concerned face.. ‘Running?’ She says. and now she has stopped smiling. ‘Darling, one thing women over 35 should not – and I repeat should not do is run!’ She explains to me that running is very hard on our bodies, and I quote “ ESPECIALLY ON OUR FACES!!! Just imagine with every time your foot hits the ground the violence on your face.” And while she’s telling me this she is making very violent up and down jerky movements with her hands open on each side of her face.
I’m wondering what kind of face I must be making right at this moment.
I try to nudge my husband’s knee to get his attention but he’s far gone into his discussion with his uncle about Monti (the Italian Prime Minister), and for the very first time in my life I want to be talking about Italian politics too.
‘Wow.’ I say and I don’t really know what else to say, so I say again ‘WOW!’
My mom opens her eyes wide and says ‘oh my, um.. well, yes, I can see how that might be true.’ And then in the same breath says ‘I think it’s quite late, maybe we should get the kids to bed..’
With that, all of our guest’s (and family) say goodnight and file out of our house.
I swear I have never appreciated my mom more.