Italy, here I (hope to) come….?

It is no secret that my greatest desire is to go to Italy and live. I think of it often. I picture the piazzas lined with ristorantes. I can almost taste the food, the espresso, the dolci. I can hear the exotic echo of the Italian accent, the lyrical quality in something as simple as an exhortation to come in for dinner.

Somehow I feel at home there. There’s nothing keeping me in America anymore and the draw of Italy is strong. Having my family there makes Italy all the more desirable.

Yet, as is my typical modus operandi, I’m analyzing everything. I look at everything from all sides in order to make a decision. A decision like this cannot be made unintelligently. One of the things that concerns me is, well, me.

I am Facebook friends with my aunt’s nephews, two very fine young men in their late twenties. They each have older sisters who have recently married and had children. Soon these two young men will get married and settle down. My two beloved cousins, Maurizio and Sergio have already done so. Can you see where this is heading?

Italy is a very traditional society. Family is huge; it’s everything. In the past, when I’ve visited, there have been questions about my marital status. There aren’t any more. And there are no questions about my parental status. At fifty-four, it’s pretty obvious where that’s going.

I believe I’ve said this before, that I don’t want to end up the oddball, like the weird uncle who never got married and wears clown pants all the time. In America, everything is celebrated and people are encouraged to be who they are. I don’t want to say that Italy forces conformity, but there seems to be an underlying desire to see everyone married off and popping out children. Or, at the very least, a desire to not to see someone alone. And that is the impression I get about me and my situation.

If I were to live in Italy, I’m sure I would establish myself in my own lifestyle. Perhaps with other expatriates? Perhaps with creative types? Perhaps with writers? Only time would tell. Perhaps I would isolate myself, only venturing out to have pasta or a latte. I like to think that I’m daring and sophisticated enough to truly pursue a life in Italy if the opportunity presents itself. But it’s so easy to just be comfortable and that comfortability is to sit and dream rather than to effect change.

And yet, my cousin Sergio, and I spoke recently about my upcoming trip to Europe for the holidays. My plan had been to spend Christmas with my relatives and then ring in the New Year in Paris. Sergio said, “Bob, why don’t you spend New Year’s with us?”

How can I refuse such an entreaty? Such a request speaks volumes about their desire to have me in their life. Doesn’t it negate the conflicts I feel? Shouldn’t it negate the conflicts I feel? Besides, who knows? Perhaps, as a friend suggested, I will meet someone in Italy. Hey, stranger things have happened. I mean, look at my life!

Back and forth

A three year old girl was recently reunited with her adoptive parents in South Carolina. This is not necessarily big news, until you dig a little further. It turns out that she part of the Cherokee Nation tribe of Native Americans in Oklahoma. When her mother was pregnant, the mother agreed to give up her baby to adoption to a couple in South Carolina.

The mother is not Cherokee; the father is. The father signed away parental rights to the mother, not knowing she would give up the baby for adoption. Before the adoption was finalized, the biological father stepped in. The little girl was returned to Oklahoma after living with her adoptive family for two years. The courts determined that the father did not have any standing and demanded that he work something out with the adoptive family. He refused and the South Carolina has demanded that he be expatriated there to face charges. Oklahoma has agreed and says the baby, “Veronica”, should be returned to her parents. The Cherokee Nation has also been involved.

So, where does the child stand in all of this? According to the press, she is 3/255ths Cherokee. Is this truly a desecration of Native American blood to have this girl adopted? After living with her adoptive parents and bonding with them for two years, is it truly in the best interests of the little girl to yank her away and take her to a man she doesn’t know, who willingly signed away parental rights? What did he care if someone else raised her? The biological MOTHER wasn’t Cherokee, yet that seemed to be okay with him.

And is anyone, including the Cherokee Nation, considering the effects on a small child who has spent the first two of her formative years? How is this impacting her growth and cognitive ability? How is this impacting her emotionally? When do politics get a rightful kick in the groin so common sense can prevail?

I see issues like this so often…children given back to abusive, dysfunctional families in feeble attempts to “keep families together”? These children are our future, as Whitney Houston sang. Shouldn’t we put their best interests first?

Any thoughts on this?