When Nick announced he was getting married. All of my girlfriends, who had sons, told me there would be one point during the wedding that would be special for me – the mother/son dance. Make it special they said, make sure you pick a song that will resonate with your son. So the pressure was on! I immediately went on the internet and began searching for that special song. During this frantic search for the most perfect song I had an epiphany: Nick was a male, he’s a guy, he could care less what song I pick. If you ask him the day after the wedding, his response is going to be “I don’t know, some song”.
It was like that when he first went to school. I had this hallmark moment planned in my mind when he came home from school and we would sit down together, have a snack and discuss his day. It went something like this: So, Nicholas, how was school today? And his response that day was the same response throughout his academic career – “Stuff”. On days he was particularly talkative – he would respond – “some stuff”. Though there was one time when he came to me in the 5th grade – Mrs. Tynan’s class – St. Regis. He had to do a report on his ancestors. He came to me and asked if my grandparents were first generation Irish. My response – no, but both of your father’s grandfathers immigrated from Italy. He then gave me this incredulous look and seriously asked, “We’re Italian?!?” I think we could hear his father choking in the next room – lol!
Once I got over the fact that Nick could care less what our “song” would be, I decided to make it all about me. I decided I would pick a song that was a special memory for me.
When Nicholas was born, his father was thrilled we had a boy. There were very few Cornacchini males in the family so having a boy was extra special. His father shouted out when he was born – “I’m sure there going to build a statue in Italy for him” – I thought that might be a little excessive. I on the other hand was thrilled we had a boy and one of my first thoughts was he’s going to know how to dance. Guys that dance are chick magnets.
What Nicholas didn’t know was I danced with him every day before naptime. It started out with my cradling him, then when he got older and was sitting up, I would hold him and hold his leg like it was an arm and dance around the house. When he started walking, we would twirl and swing. This tradition continued until “he who shall remain nameless” came on board and all hell broke loose. We danced to whatever I was in the mood for that day, Earth, Wind and Fire, Barry White, Motown but 9 times out of 10, it was always Frank Sinatra.
Later on we’re on vacation with the Haapala’s in Florida. They have their daughter, Megan with them who is a few months older than Nick who was around 18 months old. Peggy was the perfect mother. She fed her kids organic, I was like here's a french fry. She breast fed, I bottle fed. My kids were trained by the microwave bell. Kind of like Pavlov’s dog. They stopped crying when they heard the bell. I may have on occasion rang the bell in desperation to stop the crying. Don't judge. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Peggy was playing a cassette tape (yes that’s how long ago it was) of children’s songs and Megan was singing along and dancing. I looked over at Nick and he was looking at Megan like she was from another planet. And then it dawned on me – I sucked as a mother! I never played children’s songs to Nick. Nick listened to what I liked to listen to – note to self – suck it up and start playing children’s songs.
Fast forward and we’re making dinner that night and while we’re preparing, we put in our cassette tape of Frank Sinatra. I look over and there is Nicholas, dancing and crooning away to Frank Sinatra. So for that memory of a chubby, curly haired, sausaged hand toddler who couldn’t sing a children’s song because I sucked as a mother but could loudly and proudly croon to Frank Sinatra (and it’s probably the first song he sang): for our mother son dance we’ll be dancing to Frank Sinatra’s “The Lady is a Tramp”.