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The most precious gift: my girls

On May 30th 1999 I had the most precious gift, I knew that I would become a mother and from there my whole life changed. The awareness of having my daughter growing inside me (yes, because from the first moment I felt that I was expecting a baby girl) gave me the strength I had always sought but could not find. She pushed it out making space inside me and the more my belly grew the more I never felt alone and my shyness, my insecurity disappeared making room for the awareness that I was the same as the others and that therefore when I talked to people I could stop looking down because now I could face anyone’s gaze. I don’t know where all this change came from, maybe a hormonal thing or maybe from the fact that soon a little creature would be completely dependent on me and I would have to take care of her and protect her from everything and everyone, but how would I do if  I still need someone to do it for me? And then it happened, the mother in me supplanted the insecure girl and I felt strong. On February 12, 2000, Maria was born, and I called my gynecologist asking him if he had forgotten the instruction booklet inside me! Maria was beautiful, big, full of hair, she already had a nice temper, she clung to my breast while we were still tied by the umbilical cord and she didn’t want to let it go; I had to bring her to the room from the delivery room, the midwife had promised me. When we got to the upper floor where everyone was: grandparents, uncles and friends, my midwife introduced her to everyone like Rafiki did with Simba and it was beautiful. However, apart from that, you are not prepared when a child is born, you may have read the books of the most experts, having seen the most beautiful documentaries, the fact remains that now it is you and your daughter who is crying and you have not the faintest idea how to turn off the switch. I must say that Maria was very busy in terms of crying, she was the professional of crying, she knew how to cry for hours but then she calmed down and we started to sleep again. But it didn’t last long because towards the end of April 2001 we were expecting another girl and on December 27 of that year Sofia arrived. It was born so quickly and with all the water that its release was a moment, the midwife didn’t even have time to sit down, she practically parried her. Precisely for this reason, for not having suffered no strain had a rosy complexion and a round head that everyone thought was born with a caesarean section. When we got home there were relatives who came to meet her and when they all left, Maria, who was 22 months old, looks at me and says “when is she going? ‘”, I look at her for a moment trying to find the words , and I realized that then in those nine months she hadn’t understood anything and I simply say: “she is your little sister, she stays here with you” … “no she is my cousin, now she goes to her house!”. The laughter, however, in the end he agreed to keep her with us and even made her sleep in his crib (she didn’t give a damn about the cradle, she had never slept in it). That evening Nicola and I fall asleep knowing that after the last feeding at midnight we would have no escape and that every hour and a half we would have to wake up because she would start crying; but no! Sofia slept all night waking up directly for the morning feed, in fact I had to wake her up to make her eat. We didn’t believe it, our prayers had been heard or someone up there had taken pity on us. The next five years went by quickly, Maria just couldn’t remember those 22 months of hers without Sofia and they were all for each other. In 2005 in June we moved home and still today I still don’t know how I did it with two girls and the move but I managed it and to tell the truth I removed all memories until July 21: I had a delay of 20 days which I had not given weight because I was busy with the move but that morning I go to take the test and in the afternoon they tell me that I am expecting a child. Shock! I call Nicola and silence on the other side … after a couple of minutes: “I’ll see you tonight”. Pregnancy flows smoothly up to a diagnosis of gestosis then high blood pressure, fatigue, 30 kg and forced rest. On the Sunday of February 6, which was the Sunday before Mardi Gras, I decide that I feel a little better and ask Nicola to take the girls for a walk to show them the Mardi Gras costumes. We take the walk, go to my parents for lunch and go home. Around 11 o’clock some strange pains begin until these pains become stronger. At 2 am I call my midwife and she tells me to go and let me look, Nicola in the meantime had already packed the suitcase with everything necessary for me and the baby girl, yes because I forgot to tell you that our third butterfly was coming. Rosa visits me and says that without wasting time we have to go to the clinic because Sofia was anticipated by 15 days and here we were one month before the due date for the birth but according to her I was ready to deliver my package. We run to the clinic and on February 7 at 5.55 am my little Giorgia is born. She weighed 2,100 kg and was very small, she remained in the incubator for our entire stay in the clinic and once they apologized for having put her a guest for a few hours. I went to breastfeed her and I tried with all of myself, because Maria took my milk until she was over 2 years old (yes you got it right, she came to beat cash even when I was breastfeeding Sofia), Sofia took it up to nine months but Giorgia couldn’t do it, she was too small, she lost 200 grams and came to weigh 1,900 kg, so we opted for artificial milk. When we returned home Maria and Sofia were delighted and did not experience a moment of jealousy. For the crying issue I had to look into the cradle to check if she was crying because she did it in silence, she was so small that if she cried we could not hear her. Giorgia grows up tossed by the strong personalities of Maria and Sofia and is a very quiet, silent girl and my shadow. If Maria practically sent me away on the first day of kindergarten, avoiding the insertion phase, Giorgia never stopped crying when I took her to school, not even in primary school. We arrive at 2010 and I begin a new business adventure and take over a restaurant, this happened in November 2009 in January 2010 and precisely on January 5th positive pregnancy test, I am expecting the fourth child. At this point Nicola hopes for a boy, if only for a divine reward, but no other butterfly. The pregnancy is going really well, I only put on 13 kg and work in the kitchen until August 14th. On the 15th we close for holidays and on the 29th, it was the late morning of a Thursday and Nicole comes into the world. Let’s go home and I have my assistants around me, Maria was now 10 years old, Sofia 8 and Giorgia 5. Nicole was a very quiet child, she ate, slept and grew up … I found her grown up without even realizing it, thanks to the help of my daughters, I really don’t joke; they taught her so many things, they even took her nappy off during my one week absence from work. I was lucky, I had full time nannies who helped me a lot more than they were supposed to. Even today that Maria is 22 years old, Sofia 20 and Giorgia 17 take care of Nicole who is 11 years old. They are my little March sisters, I love them and just looking at them makes me understand that my life has been useful to something. Wow! what I wrote but I swear that it is not even 1% of what there would be to say but in any case, returning to the recipes, have you seen how every pregnancy, every birth was different from each other? So are their tastes at the table, there are certain days that I cook 4 different things, it is as if a table of 4 comes to me at the restaurant and everyone orders different things, wouldn’t they blow your nerves? But I always satisfy them because I am aware that they will each go their own way and one day I will miss all their requests so I enjoy the moment and spoil them a little more. The recipes in this chapter are their favorites from an early age that when they want a cuddle I prepare them and which I hope will remain etched in their historical memory and that maybe they will be their comfort food for life.

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