Italy has always been on my Bucket List. Since my first homemade plate of spaghetti marinara and first glass of Merlot, I've had Rome on my mind. I want to walk the narrow cobblestone streets hand in hand with my husband, order pizza mahgerita in Naples, and try thirty or more gelatos with a tiny plastic spoon the size of my index finger. I want to experience the romance, the elegance, and il dolce far niente...the art of doing nothing.
In the book, Luca Spaghetti, an Italian friend of Liz's, goes on a rant about Americans. He curses our inability to relax, our need for ambition, the guilt we feel when we aren't accompishing. We are busy and grow unsatisified easy because of. Most of all, our busyness, ambition, and need for change causes an aching feeling of discontentedness. A discontentedness that explains why schools are 'failing,' marriages are 'crumbling,' and credit card debt keeps sky-rocketing.
As I read these words as I waded in my kiddie pool this summer, I've never felt so American in my life. After all, I am a girl that needs to pencil in, 'relax,' on my to-do list. I make myself busy in order to feel accomplished, and feel a deep need to work hard in order to achieve time for myself. I'm accomplished, successful, and in control of my life. But am I content...that's a question that's often hard for me to answer.
That is until tonight. Halfway through the movie, I scooped Cruz into my arms, cradled him in his favorite 'sleeper hold,' and laid on the couch. He fell asleep within minutes, tucked his face deep into the sleeve of my shirt, and breathed deep breaths of contentedness. He slept until the final 15 minutes of the movie. And as the final moments of the movie played out, I looked down to see my son smiling at me through his pacifier. I couldn't stop staring at him. For the first time, I realized just how special he was to me, just how much he's changed my life. I couldn't believe he was mine.
For the next several minutes, Cruz sat on my tummy with his back against my legs. He was so happy, so content. It was at this moment that I realized what Luca Spaghetti was all about. The world just stopped for a minute, and I experienced contentment in a way I'm not sure I ever have. Exactly where I'm supposed to be.
So I will continue to practice this art of doing nothing, of counting the little lines on Cruz's forehead, or trying to capture the smell of the top of his head forever, or working ever so hard to get that little giggle out. I will continue to listen to Cruz's little coos, the absolute best sound in the entire world, until contentedness nearly explodes from me - for I'm learning that this 'nothing' is far more fulfilling than my former idea of accomplishment.
This week, Christmas week, we are practicing il dolce far niente as if our lives depended on it.
I really have nothing else to say about my little gator. He steals my heart every day. I'm completely invaghito.