Today we got serious about Florence. We got a tour of the old city from an incredible and charming guide, learned about Florence’s history, and saw David, ‘the prisoners’ and the Duomo, which were as mind-blowing as I could have imagined. I was amazed by all of it, and getting the associated history without relying on my phone or eavesdropping on tours made us feel spoiled. We even fit in a little shopping, as my selection for Tess’ wedding ensemble may have been a little lowbrow. Poor thing – thank god Sassy does the important shopping! She will look fantastic in her coordinated Italian outfit.
Florence is a city that sings to me. The river, the bridges, the history and grudges, even the outspoken bluntness of the locals charms. Florence is a city with a big, messy personality and I like nothing better. Watching the Tess effect on stodgy or too-cool individuals frankly makes me smirk with delight. She melts the stoniest of hearts with that toothy grin! Today we left a trail of swooning teenagers and old men in our path – really unbelievable. I swear, people were snapping pictures of her like she was an exhibit.
The guide had some interesting adoption questions – very direct. Dave and I felt they came from curiousity and and not rudeness, although some took us aback. I’m still not entirely sure how to address certain topics:
Did you adopt because you can’t have children?…She’s so cute! You must be worried her parents will come back and take her away! So you lined up the adoption while the birthmom was still pregnant?
The spirit behind her conversation was genuine and friendly, so offense wasn’t taken. Still, I don’t have ready answers, and feel like I need to develop some. At some point, Tess will hear my responses – and I want them to reflect the respect I have for her, the respect our family deserves, and respect for people who truly want to just understand.
Tonight we celebrate our last night in Florence. (I have yet to meet an Italian who isn’t first and foremost a delegate of their region! Italy, poor country, has much less pull on their national pride and affection.) We ate at Trattoria Pandemonio, where ‘mamma’ took incredible care of us. She was shocked that Tess loves chicken liver, and told almost everyone in the restaurant that she was a great little eater! Everyone looked equally shocked that we chose liver over white pasta. Tess ate pretty much everything we all ate, including the little ice cream dessert. She approaches chicken liver mixed with anchovies (seriously) with the same gusto as ice cream or mashed potatoes. No one is more impressed than I am.
Then we curled up on comfy chairs in mom’s room and watched Tess make noise and wriggle around. She really is the most amazing creature in my world.
This trip is a dream: time with my parents and my family in a beautiful city before watching two fabulous people get married?! Our cup runneth over.