Here’s the song reference.
Zizi Carmela was in town over the weekend, along with several other members of Nonno’s side of the extended family, to celebrate a second Thanksgiving and visit with all of us here in Virginia. It always brings us joy to see her, and it seems to bring her an equal amount of joy to see all the tiny people and how they’ve grown since her last visit. We’re optimistic that, in the spring or summer, we’ll finally be able to pack up the tribe and take the whole crew up to visit her.
Whenever Zizi visits, she always, always, always brings homemade biscotti, in quantities that are staggering and warmly welcomed. In her lexicon, these are simply known as “cookies,” and her explanation for their bountiful appearance is that kids need some good cookies to grow up big and strong and to know that Zizi loves them. If you haven’t guessed this already, we simply adore her.
Given all the time we spent at Nonno and Deedaw’s over the long holiday weekend, I had a daunting to-do list staring me in the face yesterday morning. The morning’s marvel of mercy was that the tribe woke up singly, which gave me the opportunity to greet each tiny person individually and ensure that each one of them had something desirable and halfway healthy for breakfast. Mr. Man was the last child to rise, and as soon as he exploded into the kitchen in search of food, he spied the box of cookies.
“I have cookie for bweakfast, pwease?”
“No, no cookie for breakfast. How about some yogurt?”
“No, I can’t want yoguht. I want sit Daddy’s chair an’ have cookie for bweakfast.”
Right about then, Baby Guy, having heard one of the magic words, entered the kitchen with the pounding stagger-run that indicates he is terribly excited about something. His vocabulary is not particularly large, but he’s very good at uttering those words that describe things that qualify as urgent priorities for him.
The girls caromed into the kitchen. “Are there cookies, Mommy?”
I sighed. “Yes, there are cookies. Zizi Carmela brought us a big box of them. She made them herself so you would remember she loves you even when she’s not here.”
I should point out that the box of cookies was, quite literally, a three-pound garden salad container. That is a LOT of biscotti.
There are moments when I simply surrender to the likelihood of joyful noise and multiple tooth-brushings in a morning. This was one of them.
“Okay, everyone into their chairs. Let’s have cookies and thank God for Zizi Carmela.”
Three pairs of feet did not hit the floor between the kitchen doorway and their chairs. The fourth pair of feet stomped bow-leggedly over to the booster chair and complained loudly until the toddler who owns them was placed therein and his tray secured. I opened the cookie box, grabbed one for myself, then stood back and watched the merry chaos of four small children exulting in their great-aunt’s baking.
Today’s prayer: Lord, thank You for granting so many members of our extended family length of years, such length as made it possible for Your little blessings to know them and learn from them. Please help me recognize those little moments when we can bask in their little acts of love for us, and celebrate them with abandon instead of worrying about whether the time is right.