I sat at the end of the table observing the 17 members of my immediate and extended family as they chatted with each other over Christmas dinner.
At one point during dinner I looked down towards the opposite end at the oldest family member, my 89 year old grandfather who we call Nonno. He was holding his 2 year old great grandchild, Andrew, on his lap. Andrew LOVES Nonno, 87 years separate them but they speak the same language.
This is the family he built with my Nonni all those decades ago when they first met and married.
Seperately they arrived from Italy, together had 5 children, 10 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. At Thanksgiving Nonno had commented to one of my cousins how amazing it was to know he build this family. (I don’t remember the exact conversation, but it was something along those lines.)
We lost Nonni in 2004, I wish she had lived long enough to see her first great grandchild. On Christmas, I felt her there, it was such an overwhelming feeling of her presence.