A Villa in Tuscany

Yesterday morning, before I started with my gazillion errands for the day, i chanced upon the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” on tv.  I remember watching — and liking – the movie the first time i saw it, so i thought of sitting down to watch it again a bit.  An hour and a half later, i was still glued in front of the tv… dreaming of having my own villa in Tuscany at the same time.

Diane Lane’s character went to Italy at the time when her world seemed to have just crashed and she was at that point where the life she knew pretty much disintegrated.  She came to Italy to take a break… ended up staying there to find herself and start anew.  In a foreign land, with strangers… stranger in a strange land.

Sometimes life throws things or situations at us that we never expected, leaving us dazed and at a loss.  It could be divorce… separation… illness… break-ups… financial challenges… It could be anything that we never saw coming.  The once seemingly peaceful and normal existence that we had– gone in a few seconds.  It happens to the best of us.  Sometimes, despite the planning and the mapping out of things that we want to happen, well, we still get thrown off the track. 

And so we look for refuge.  Sometimes, when the present life just seems unbearable, we want to just pack our bags and leave everything behind, forget about the life that we have and start fresh.  Find our Tuscany.  

Finding Tuscany doesn’t prove to be easy.  Sometimes it is much easier to stay in one’s comfort zone… no matter how miserable it has become.  Starting from scratch seems scary…. difficult… could be lonely, too.  Starting anew can prove to be the loneliest time in one’s life.  Loneliest because despite what friends or family member say, you are still on your own as you face the world… as you rebuild your world.

And yet it is also at this point when you are at your lonesome, that you get to know yourself best.  It is when you are listening to the inner you that you find out what you value most in your life… what you can let go of, and what you can bear.  Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to find yourself.  And once you have hit rock bottom, there is no other way but up.  The loneliest time can turn out to be the most exciting time, as well.

There was a point in my life when I really wanted to find my Tuscany.  But because of the turn of events, I never did get that far.  I was young, i was scared, and i didn’t know if choosing myself was the best option or was just plain selfish.  At that time I thought choosing myself was just selfish.  Sometimes i still do wonder what could have happened if i didn’t turn back.  I guess I will never know. 

What I do know is I am no longer the naive girl who stayed.  I stayed for a reason, and I don’t really regret the decision. 

But if need be, I am no longer afraid of finding my Tuscany.  Throw in a villa and an Italian lover, I’ll hop on a plane to Italy anytime.

(photocredit: fineartamerica.com, painting by Deborah Bertola)


The #2 is MY #1

After the end of every school year, for the past six years, I have been going up the stage in school to accept and hang on my son’s neck a silver medal for academic achievement.  Out of more or less 400 students in his grade level, my son has consistently been Top 2.  The students getting the first and the third spots have changed several times, but The Son stood his ground. As one parent puts it, he has kept his throne.

As a hands on parent, maybe I should share in taking credit for his achievements.  I can always claim that without my help and guidance — and the tons of reviewers that i used to make (okay, honestly, I still make some up to  now) — without me giving encouragement and support, maybe he wouldn’t have been consistent.  Maybe my persistent nagging (how redundant is that!) does the work.  Maybe i can claim that he is doing well in school because i won’t let him do otherwise (translation: confiscate every single toy, book or whatever that normal boys make time for… or ground him for the rest of his student life!).

Honestly? I won’t take credit for my son’s achievements.  He has reached this far because he worked hard for it.  Yeah, maybe I give a little nudge every once in a while… maybe i do nag him, specially when time is of the essence… and yes, i still help review him come exam day.  But once he is in school he’s on his own.  He uses his own brains to understand things. He works hard to  perfect his activities and he relates to the teachers and peers in his own personal way.  It is all him.  I dare not take away his glory.

As a parent, the most i can do is to give the best guidance, support and encouragement as much as I can while he is young.  I just sow the seeds and he does the rest of the work.  He makes his mistakes and learns from them.  He makes decisions and face the consequences.  But sometimes, too, I can only watch and guide from afar.  Sometimes i can only pray that i guided him well enough to make good choices when he’s on his own.

So far, he is doing pretty well. 

This morning, I was the picture of a very proud (and beaming) mom.