Today, I dedicate this post to my little girl, Roma Aida. Today, she turns 5. It seems only yesterday she was born a bit undercooked (she was not due for another 5 weeks), but as she has proven to be, she was determined from the very start to be part of this world and brighten it up with her smile. She's always been on the petite side (just like her mama) and in pre-K, she is the smallest girl in her class. But wasn't Madeleine the smallest and most vivacious one of the 12 little girls that lived in a house in Paris and walked in two straight lines?
When she was born, she had no eyelashes and no eyebrows (did I tell you she was undercooked?) and I thought I had been punished for wishing for a beautiful little girl. But here she was and I looked at her and she looked back at me with her hairless eyes and we decided to get along. I still cried. My husband thought she was the most beautiful little baby in the whole world. The jury was still out on my case. I waited, and I waited. But in her defense, I tell you, she was the most wonderful, sweet baby ever (as though to make up for what she was lacking in looks).
Roma grew up to be the most beautiful little girl ever and I am so ashamed that I ever doubted it. She can light up a room with her smile and bubbly personality. She's sweet, caring and very responsible for such a small person. She has stolen my heart and my life. My sweet Roma tomato, named after the most beautiful city in the world -- Roma (Rome).
When she was about to be born, I had a dream. I had already decided that if I ever had a little girl, I would name her Roma. But in this dream, my maternal grandmother Aida showed up. I loved my grandmother and she taught me so many things that I hope to pass down to my own children. She was a small, petite, Italian woman with red hair. Humble and loving and oh, so giving of herself. When she died (two weeks after we moved from Argentina to the U.S.), the Catholic Church gave us a special dispensation to have her body cremated so that we could take her with us wherever we went (because as immigrants, we did not know at that time if we were going to stay in the U.S.). My father thought long and hard for the perfect inscription for her urn that would capture the essence of who she was. After deliberating for a long time, he came up with the perfect epitaph.
In this dream, Abuela Aida came up to me. She smiled and hugged me. She took me by the hand and led me to her urn. She pointed at it and I looked, not quite understanding. She pointed again at the epitaph and said, "look." I read the epitaph that my father so lovingly wrote on her urn. It reads, "Amor, Amor, Amor" (Love, love, love). I woke up and knew that even my grandmother approved of my soon to be born little girl's name as I realized what she was telling me in my dream. "Amor, Amor, Amor" afterall is "Roma, Roma, Roma" backwards.
My sweet little girl through her five short years.