GRAND Magazine- Winter 2020 - 12

memories and moments

What I learned about my father
when he became Grandpa
BY CAROLINE CHIRICHELLA

D

ear Dad,
I think it's fair to say our relationship has never
been better...now that we're 5,000 miles apart.
Before you take this the wrong way, let me explain.
You and I have always had a good, healthy relationship. You taught me how to swim, we played tennis
together every summer, most mornings on the weekends were spent at our favorite diner eating waffles and
of course, I no doubt inherited my love of writing from
you.
But, our relationship could have been better; I think
we can both admit to that. You and I are both stubborn,
headstrong and selfish, so sometimes it was be easy to
clash because we were so similar. Plus, let's not kid ourselves, you had mom to compete with and no one can
beat mom. You yourself would be the first to admit that.
But I never doubted your love for our family. I knew
how hard you worked for our happiness; that was evident.
Regardless, you and I never had the picture perfect father
daughter relationship that is portrayed in films...until now.
Four years ago, I decided to move to the south of Italy,
leaving my life in our hometown of NYC behind. Not only
would I be saying goodbye to life in the city but leaving
meant saying goodbye to you and Michael. There would be
phone calls and visits of course, but it would not be the same.
Mom would be joining me in Italy, as we had both dreamed
of starting a new life at a slower, calmer pace. Eventually,
you would join us when you retired, but for now it would be
12 GRAND

JAN., FEB. & MAR. 2020

as mom held you in a tight embrace, I sneaked my way
towards you, baby in my arms and tapped you on the
shoulder. You left moms hug and slowly turned to us.
In ten seconds, I could see your face change from
shock to surprise to excitement to tears. Lucia Antonia
starred at you with sparkles in her eyes as though she
had known you her whole life. Vito was lucky enough to
capture this moment on camera.
You stayed with us in Italy for three weeks, never
really leaving Lucia's side and therefore, mine as well.
Our time was mostly spent at home. We all cooked, ate,
played games and just enjoyed each other's company.
Lucia Antonia, being the bossy baby that she is, loved
having you walk her around whenever you were with
us. She loved when you held her seated between your
crossed legs on the sofa, as you made silly faces at her.
You bonded with her as any grandfather can hope to
Skype calls and a visit once or twice a year.
Every time you came to see us in Italy, each visit got a little bond with his granddaughter. But you didn't just create a
harder, because every time you left, I missed you a little more. strong bond with Lucia Antonia. You created a stronger bond
with me.
But this past visit was even more difficult.
You came to visit us in December 2018, not just for us, but
to meet your first grandchild, Lucia Antonia, who at the time,
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was just four months old. We planned to pick you up at the
airport, but all you were aware of was that mom was coming
with my husband, Vito, to get you. You didn't know that Baby
Caroline Chirichella is a
Lucia and I would be there too.
former New Yorker now
You came out of arrivals and headed to mom immediately,
working as a chef and
as Vito, Baby Lucia Antonia and I hid in the corner. As soon
freelance writer in Italy.


https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0994809700/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=grandmagazi0d-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=0994809700&linkId=c0cf2342749a51234e00421ef2df453e https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003B6QYSW/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=grandmagazi0d-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B003B6QYSW&linkId=74a78ba0a510c9871c2e38f745d59213 https://www.grandmagazine.com/2020/01/what-i-learned-about-my-father-after-he-became-a-grandfather/

GRAND Magazine- Winter 2020

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