Learn from each slice.
Try eating a chocolate cake alone (if you have never tried before). Chances are you will make yourself sick, it will make you gain a few pounds and it is going to take a lot of time and energy to take off those extra pounds and keep them off. It will always weigh you down.
I come from a big Italian family. Everyone is an aunt, an uncle or a cousin even if they aren’t related. I spent a lot of my childhood surrounded by the family. I have fond memories of once a year everyone taking a trip to my grandparents’ summer house Upstate NY. There would be mattresses, cots, and blankets setup everywhere around the house as we tried to fit sometimes 20 or so people into this 2 bedroom house.
At the center of this was my great-grandmother (Nonna Cathy). If you looked at her smile when we were all together you could actually feel the great satisfaction she got from having everyone together. We definitely had some great times. I recall her sitting under the huge pine trees that sit next to the house on her blue and white woven lawn chair just taking in the breeze and soaking in the moment. She would shoot you a smile, laugh, make some silly noises to try and make you laugh. She always seemed happy. I can only appreciate these moments looking back. I was young, selfish and too preoccupied with running around and causing trouble to stop and enjoy those moments with her. (One piece of cake)
Nonna was always happy to see us. My mom made a point of bringing us over to her house all the time. I always seemed to be bothered by the trip. Not because I did not want to see her, but because I did not have anything to do over there. I didn’t watch TV because the Italian channel was always on, and I never sat at the table because I had nothing to add to a conversation, I would have just sat there until our visit was over. There was the Milk with Sugar though, Yum! When I was there I did not take the time to soak in the moment aside from “hello, thanks this is delicious, goodbye.” (Two pieces of cake)
She lived with her brother and sister (my great-great uncle and aunt) who passed away before her… it still did not sink in that I should take advantage of the time left. (Three pieces of cake)
Nonna ended up in the hospital. Work had been keeping me busy so I had not yet had a chance to visit her, but I called to see how she was doing of course. It had not seemed serious or I would have been there. I made plans to leave work a little early the next day to go visit her. I gave my father a call that day to get the details on which room she was and to let my parents know that I was going over there…. there was silence on the phone… “Rino, nonna passed away.” I don’t remember anything that was said after that. I immediately left work without saying a word to anyone. I should have gone the day before. (Last piece of cake…they are big slices of cake)
I have had plenty of chocolate cake over the years. I feel it weighing me down at the most random moments. When my Nonno Guerrino passed away when I was little I wish I would have realized what little time we have and appreciated every moment, big or small. I wish that lesson would have taught me to cherish the time I spent with my Nonna Maria in Italy; time I spent with Nonna Cathy, Uncle Tony and Zia Giovanna in NY and conversations I had on the phone with Nonna Elvira from Germany.
By the time you feel regret it’s too late. You can’t take away the weight of regret only hide it or prolong its return. Family is everything. Appreciate every moment with them because before you know it that moment has passed and no amount of energy, strength, power, material items, anger, cursing, yelling, tears or money will ever bring that moment back.
When you see someone lost in thought do you ever wonder what they are thinking about? For me I am trying to understand the lessons that I missed and make sure that I don’t eat another chocolate cake alone.