You take after your old man because you are quite the talker.
Morning cries that wake us turn quickly into morning conversations. When I grab you out of the crib, you have plenty to say about the owl mobile that rotates above it. On the changing table, you point to the pictures nearby and mutter one and two syllable words that usually start with m, b and d. Except for the photo of Nonno. You wave your finger like Dikembe Mutombo at the photo of my Dad, whose Italian name for grandfather sounds the same as, well, "no no." So he gets the same affectionate gesture.
On the subject of grandparents, today my Nonna and your Bisnonna, Ada Mottola, passed away. In history books, you'll read about American immigrants arriving on boats to Ellis Island, New York. She was one of them, pregnant and alone with her first child on a boat from Naples to join her husband in Seattle. That's courage.
Nonna had two lives: In one she was quiet and shy, raising five children in a successful family business. In the other she was surrounded by adult children and grandchildren with a boisterous personality resulting from of an aneurysm. I only knew the latter woman, who wouldn't shy from asking a woman the color of her bra or jumping into the arms of a reputable Elvis impersonator.
We went to go visit Nonna last week to say goodbye. She loved holding your hand and stared at you with the love and perspective of a woman who could see how much life you have ahead of you.
When I think of Nonna, I think of someone who wanted excitement and to live in the moment. I think we've done a bit of that this past month, going to Chicago to visit family and taking camping trips as a family at Lopez Island and with friends on the coast. We stay busy because the urgency to see and experience the world is in our blood.
Just as we're jumping from place to place, we're only half as bold as taking one big trip across the ocean to start a new life and create a legacy. One of those legacies is the restaurant you're sitting in, pictured above, one of many restaurants in a family line started by your Bisnonno and Bisnonna. That's why Seattle natives associate our last name with a decades-old restaurant institution called "Vince's."'
When I think of Nonna, I also think of Campari, which you will learn to enjoy on ice.
You're coming up on your first birthday, kiddo. The days are flying by. I'm glad we're having so much fun and making the most of every moment.