Friday, June 3, 2011

Italian Mothers and their Sons

Some random thoughts I have as I look out the window of life passing in the piazza.  As those of you who know me know, my mother was a bit of a nutball.  I believe that she was manic depressive and in our age would have been helped by medication. Unfortunately, it was neither the right age nor was her character such that she could ask for help, even had it been available.  Her emotional situation left her angry, tense and critical of the imperfections of life around her.  This is not to say that there weren't times when she was happy or that her demons were cast aside, and she truly enjoyed life and those around her.  Generally though my mother was a person who struggled with giving and receiving love.

I am thinking of her today because of the relationship I have seen between Mani and his mother.  He is not only the only child, he is the only son.  In Italy this could be a huge burden but he wears it lightly, and he adores his mother.  She of course, also adores him.  They have a relationship that most of us yearn for.  She always has his back, and he always has hers.  He sees her good traits and overlooks her flaws and she does the same with him.  I think that this is the basis for love and it is hard to get to.

Their relationship between mother and son made me think about why it is so hard for us to love one another.  I think that there are some people who are born with a gift for love just as there are some people who are born with a gift of faith.  Italian mothers and their sons are a stereotype and yet I have experienced here a real and living example of how love can flourish in a parental relationship.

How little it matters really if our spouses or friends or children do not meet our expectations. The expectations are ours after all, not theirs. I believe to truly love one another, we must accept the other and put aside our expectations which can only lead to disappointment.  This is hard to do for we all have standards and models of how the other should behave.  Spending this time in Italy it is becoming clearer to me that focusing on the other and how they do not meet our expectations  is yet another way to keep us from looking at ourselves and taking the actions that we need in order to give and receive love more completely.  Would that we all could get to the type of acceptance that Mani has with his mother and she has with him.


  1. Beautifully written, Susan!!! That sounds like the epitome of "unconditional love"!! What a wonderful example of God's love!!! Love ya bunches! Mudd