You may wonder why I have decided to write about Sonia. Sonia is my daughter, the one and only. She is also one of the most important people in my life; she holds a position that no one else will ever hold. When my ex-husband and I were first married we had decided that we would like to have 10 children; however we had been married 4-1/2 years before Sonia was born, and no others followed. It hurt, but all-in-all we thought if we could only have one, she was the one; it was like having 10 children all in one: 10 times more beautiful, 10 times more obedient (well, okay, maybe only 7 times ), 10 times more intelligent, loving, sweet – 10 times more anything than any other child. She was also 10 times brattier, when she put her mind to it.
Sonia was born in Bologna , but we moved to Mistretta when she was two months old. A few months after we arrived, I was standing in the post office holding her in my arms. There were a lot of people in line before me, but someone with an earlier number offered me his seat. Just after I sat down an elderly woman who was on her way out stopped by to tell me how beautiful my little girl was. She asked a few questions about Sonia – how old was she? where was she born? But the best came when she asked, “What’s her name?” “Sonia.” “Sonia? What saint is that?” Knowing the Italians as I do, I know that most Italian names come from saints and that they all have Saints days, so I responded, “My mother; she is a true saint.” She looked at me quizzically and then left, shaking her head.
Sonia started saying Mamma when she was about 4 months old, but said what could be construed as an actual statement when she was about 10 months old. We had a beautiful Brittany Spaniel pup named Rover, who would go out every evening for his walk; I usually let him go alone, because I had problems walking even at the best of times and when you walk in Mistretta, you’re walking uphill even when you’re walking downhill. Moving right along, I started calling and whistling, when suddenly I heard this little voice calling from upstairs, “Rover! Rover! Bow wow! Bow wow!” I couldn’t believe my ears, she was so sweet.
There are so many stories to tell about my girl, like the time she and her friend disappeared, and was then brought home by her uncle who worked in the community park; the two cohorts in crime had decided they needed a change of venue, and had taken off when I was in the restroom. They were two…Then there was the time she memorized her favorite book so well that it seemed she was actually reading it; she even turned the pages in the right place.
I remember her first day of school; she was so excited about going that she got dressed in two seconds flat and finished her breakfast even faster than that. When we got to her classroom, there was another little girl who was very much afraid and didn’t want her mamma to leave (Sonia kept saying, “Go home Mamma, go home”). Sonia went over, introduced herself to Rita, took her hand and they went and sat down at the same desk. They shared that desk all the way through to the end of the second grade.
Sonia loves animals, especially dogs, which is a very good thing; she and her father were always bringing home orphaned puppies. One time we ended up with a litter of 10 puppies that had been thrown into a trashcan; Sonia and I tried and tried to keep them alive, but it turned out that the person who had thrown them away had also thrown them against a brick wall first. They all died, and we both cried for them. Her favorite dog of all time was Freccia, an Italian hound that her father had brought home for her. (see the photo on the left). Freccia slept with Sonia as a puppy, and when she grew up and had puppies of her own, she decided that the best place for them was on Sonia’s bed. When Sonia informed her that that was NOT the best place, she carried them UNDER Sonia’s bed, where she kept them until they were old enough to face the cold.
Sonia is all grown up now, but she is even more beautiful, sweet and loving than before. When I moved back to the United States, she elected to stay in Italy. I miss her very much and I hope she can feel the love I have for her.