The sun was moving west across the sky as Ron and I headed east.  Nine hours in an enormous Alitalia jet shooting across the Atlantic is the price we are willing to pay to realize our dream. Between cat naps, I keep raising the shades of my window seat to see only black at 550 miles per hour. 
We are literally flyng through time…to our reunion with the sun in the red horizon of a crisp, clear Italian morning.
Delighted to see the lush green of spring, it blankets the rolling hills and landscaped vineyards surrounding Roma.  
Our shuttle driver (OMG…they dress in suits like fashion models here) maneuvers his Mercedes toward the city at 110 kph. I marvel at the precision and borderline hysteria of the “lanes are optional” chaos that is Roman traffic. 
But it is the stunning contrast of this cosmopolitan center with the mind-boggling edifices to ancient (before Christ) architecture that takes our breath away.  This is where the word MAXIMUS was born, and it aptly descibes the grandeur we are witnessing.
After a few hours sleep to reset our body clocks to Roman time, we feast on traditional fare at a corner cafe; cabriese, pasta with red wine, then tiramasu with cappucino. 
Walking to the most famous fountain in the world, Fontana di Trevi, we sit in the cool, clear evening and people-watch. Beautiful Italian women in tall leather boots and fashionable scarves smile for pictures,  A man kneels to propose to his girlfriend. People throw coins (right hand over left shoulder) kissed with wishes into the crystal waters as the marble gods look on. 

I can’t stop smiling…we are here.


Defying Gravity

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
Too late for second-guessing

Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes
And leap…

It’s time to try defying gravity

My heart is pounding. It is January 8th and I know it is time, but I am afraid. After months of living in the cocoon of grief, I am not sure if I can even find the parts of me that curled up into the fetal position when Mom died. Much of what I once cared about feels unimportant… even frivolous. Nothing is the same. I am not the same.

In our life before, my husband Ron and I often dreamed of leaving our footprints around the world. Now as we sit in front of the computer shopping for hotels and flights, I am preparing to metaphorically BASE jump off a cliff with a chute I am not sure will open. Ron sits calmly. He has waited patiently all these months…hoping for the butterfly.

I take a deep breath and click the PURCHASE button. I glance up to see a greeting card long ago tacked to my office wall. It reads: Do one thing every day that scares you. What the hell kind of arrogant bravado made me find that inspiring??? The itinerary starts inching out of the printer… there is no turning back.

I have just committed to fly for hours and hours across the water. I will be abandoning my cocoon, the refuge of home, and all the people I don’t want to live without. Ron and I will take our over-developed curiosity to a foreign country. We will attempt to communicate politely in another language, and explore without looking completely lost.

“10 days in IT-LEE? What is my wife doing in IT-LEE?” (Have you seen the movie, Only You?)

I turn to Ron and he searches my face to take in all the things he knows I cannot say. I don’t want him to see me cry, but later when I am alone, I won’t have to be brave. The triumph is bittersweet, and it hurts knowing that I can’t share the news and relish the plan with Mom.

Because of her, I learned to listen to and trust my “still small voice”…that inner prompting that speaks from your soul. It is where your heart’s desires are sheltered, even when you are reeling from life’s disappointments. It is love and your eternal, unwavering source of TRUTH.

The Italian adventure awaits….5 days and counting.

>The Dance


And now I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end; the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance 
I could have missed the pain
But I’d of had to miss the dance.
Six years ago today it wasn’t snowing like it is outside my window now.  It was sunny and the green of spring was just starting to drive the brown away.  I was smack in the middle of marrying the man that had at last, come for me

A small affair at the restaurant where we first met, I was wearing the dress I wanted in a soft creme covered with beads.   My Dad, in a tuxedo, was finally going to walk me down the aisle. My radiant mother looked young enough to be my sister.  We weren’t sure that all of Ron’s daughters would be there, but they came and it was magic!  

I had asked everyone to wear black and white.  My sister-in-law wore a green skirt. She is so pretty, no one noticed or really cared.  A friend’s husband sang Some Enchanted Evening..”Once you have found her, Never let her go..”

The elderly rent-a-judge stumbled through the ceremony like it was his first, thrown by our unconventional requests…unsure what to leave out of the vows and what we wanted to say.  It didn’t matter… 

My mother read a gorgeous poem written by Rod McKuen.  
It is called, I Always Knew 

We ate and smiled and cried a little bit.  We posed for pictures and pulled faces for some.  My Dad got his own dessert instead of chocolate wedding cake, and my three girls presented us with a certificate naming our very own Star. 

Ron had been eyeing the wine cellar, and he talked the restaurant manager into letting us in for more pictures.  The light was perfect, and in those happy moments, so were we. 

Oh, did I mention my oldest daughter video-taped the wedding?  I can sit down, plug in the VHS tape, and re-live the entire event.  I plan to watch it sometime, but seeing my Mom so happy, so beautiful and alive…I can’t do it.  Not yet.  

But I will never forget. It was one of the best days of my life.