Four eighteen year old boys came and went – my son and three friends of his visiting from Trento. In the meantime I haven’t been able to get to my computer through the sleeping bags on the floor in our upstairs study.
After returning home in the not-so-wee hours on New Years day, they slept until nearly 1:00. On awakening and after a quick coffee and a shower, they were ready for IL PRANZO. The guests kindly asked if they could help set the table, cut the bread and such, but they were clearly expecting a sit down, full three course lunch. I knew that, and after a morning run to clear my head from the midnight champagne, I had gotten down to business and I was at a good point – fave beans cooked and run through the food processor, sliced bread set out for grilling, salad ready for dressing, cheese and coldcut platter nicely arranged. They hovered and watched (after two days they no longer worried about what an American mother would possibly serve). Finally everyone converged on the table, sitting poised while I served the crema di fave with lightly boiled shrimp, oil and crostini.
Over an hour later, we had finished. The boys helped clean up the table before they headed out for another round of their Roman adventure, full and satisfied, down to the leftover panettone and coffee.
The pleasant part was sitting at the table with my husband and all this adolescent exuberance in sheer harmony. They described their New Years eve (well, at least part of it), the people they had met and the things they had seen in Rome, talked about school and the upcoming maturità exams, described quirky teachers, and generally conversed with the adults – naturally, leisurely and at ease.
No rush! ‘E l’ora del pranzo.
While American kids struggle to define themselves as INDIVIDUALS, separate from their family and part of a society based on individualism, the Italian kids seem to be comfortable in the nucleus of a family environment – no need to break free to become an individual when you can evolve and grow and become independent within the family.
Happy New Year!