Dreaming of Dayton, Part One

A beautiful femme fatale - tangledpasta.net
A beautiful femme fatale – tangledpasta.net

By Mary Anna Violi | @Mary Anna Violi

This past weekend we traveled to Dayton, Ohio.  My daughter was participating in a law school safari for admitted students.  This tour de force at the law school was enhanced by the fact that we would be staying with a beloved aunt.

We set out on a sunny Friday mid-morning to journey to the Land of the Buckeyes.  This was the last weekend of Spring Break, which meant we needed to drop off my daughter’s roadster and Harvey the Fish with my brother and sister-in-law en route to Dayton.  After a quick-lunch of zuppa di minestrone, Italian bread, and a chocolate-covered shortbread cookie with an IU seal on it, we headed east.  The trip clocked in around five hours total from our domicile in northern Indiana.  Our conversation was filled with the pros and cons of the other two law schools we had visited over the past several weeks, college graduation in less than two months, and my niece’s pending June wedding.  Before one could say “graduate school”, we were pulling into Zia Agnesi’s driveway [Zia means “aunt” in Italian], in front of her well-appointed house.

Zia has always been mad about Persian cats, and she certainly has had show-stopping ones over the years.  Her two current Persians, DeLora and Molly proved no exception.   DeLora is a stunning Smokey Tortoise Persian; Molly is a blue-eyed Himalayan Persian.  I remember years ago when Zia had two blue-eyed white Angora Persians named Mitzi and Muffin.  After interacting with DeLora and Molly, I thought our own Fellini and Coco Chanel seemed to possess more pointed, fox-like noses compared with the pushed in noses of their high-falutin’ Persian cousins.

An evening full of conversation, a delicious dinner of tuna fish and noodles and mushroom casserole, and Waldorf salad washed down with vino bianco, we retired late night.  Tomorrow at the law school promised to be a busy day.

Ciao for now.

Letting Go

Sorority Formal - tangledpasta.net
Sorority Formal – tangledpasta.net















By Mary Anna Violi | @Mary Anna Violi


Today I sit in the library of the law school my daughter is again visiting.  I am the chauffeur for the second look at this law school located less than ninety minutes from our home.  While she has several other schools to visit over Spring Break, this law school feels like coming home, not only because of the geographical proximity to our hometown, but because of the impression the students, faculty, and staff have made.

I am seated next to a series of large windows overlooking a forested area surrounding   the law school.  The beauty of the landscape is impressive.  Even the adjacent 1870’s building, recently refurbished, exudes a classical aura.  The gray squirrels scampering across the courtyard between the law buildings struck a piquant note with me, perhaps since only chunky chestnut colored squirrels raid our bird feeder at home.

This whole experience has a curious sense of déjà vu about it:  Over four years ago I accompanied Anjelica on a return visit for prospective admitted undergraduate students at the university she ultimately attended.  She was excited and nauseous at the prospect of going away to college.  In spite of her trepidation and tears, she forged ahead.  That first semester was rough emotionally.  Her cadre of high school friends had scattered; only she had opted for the gargantuan campus downstate.  But once she hit her stride, she thrived; once she pledged a sorority, went to London and Paris with several favorite professors, she never looked back.

We arrive again at a crossroads.  Four years older, more poised, more confident, ready to tackle law school, she begins to pursue her dream. Gazing at her, I remember when I decided to chase a graduate degree in linguistics. That same fire blazes in her about studying law.  Sometimes she worries maybe she will find law school is not her cup of tea.

“If it’s not, then you go with your Backup Plan.  The world won’t end,” I tell her.

I do not need to reinvent any perceived thwarted academic aspirations through her.  While we talk or text almost daily, I understand that she has begun to live her life, knowing I am her familial anchor, come what may.

I continue to learn how to gently let go as she soars into becoming the Anjelica of her own invention.

Ciao for now.

August All Too Soon

Long after the promise of spring in April, past the joy of lovely May, after the crackling heat of July, August now surges on.  The euphoria of having my college daughter home for the summer has dwindled to surveying the landscape of clothes left, discarded shoes, and bits and bobs.  I mentally prepared to bid her adieu last week as she packed up her car and returned to the campus heady with the knowledge that a baccalaureate degree will be hers come May 2013.

Chanel, Bellagio, Las Vegas – tangledpasta.net

Mornings now begin without the creaking of the upstairs floor as she rustled around in preparation to start the day.  Only the meows and aeiuoosof Coco Chanel and Fellini awaken me these days as they rouse me out of my somnambulist state.  I am not fooled:  this indoor feline duo wants their Fancy Feast breakfast and large ceramic bowl of fresh water immediately.  Theirs is a well-ordered life.  Mine, however, seems less so.

Coco Chanel and Fellini – tangledpasta.net

The adjustments made to life minus the daily happy turmoil of dynamic family life have lulled into another sort of rhythm – one that moves forward in quieter, subtler ways.

I do not shed the waterfall of tears like I did her first semester of college away from home.  Valiantly I attempted to hold myself together until the last kisses and hugs had been given and received.  Bravely I smiled and waved as she disappeared down a dorm hallway to a meeting with a throng of other freshman college students.  I climbed into my car, pulled out of the parking space, managed to signal a left turn at the first traffic light, and dissolved into a sniveling heap of psychic decay.

Lake Michigan – tangledpasta.net

Now I take heart in the fact that my child is thriving in college, excelling academically, and reveling in sorority life and friendships.  As she dives headlong into life, I am buoyed by the fact that I am blessed by the sheer joy and pleasure of the fruits of motherhood.

Ciao for now.