Raised in an Italian home, there were many days when I would hear my mother say, “Mamma Mia.” Was she calling on her mother for help, or stating that she had a mother, or perhaps saying it for validation of motherhood? Many Italian expressions convey many different emotions: surprise, fear, pain, joy, exasperation, and on and on. It’s like when something goes wrong, or perhaps very right, one tends to scream out to their mother. At least, this is true in the Italian culture.
Mother’s in the Italian realm are the know-all, be-all, matriarchs of the family. No one can make the pasta sauce like she can, no one can bake the Italian bread like she can, and positively, no one can give you advise like she can. I do remember a few choice things my mother would say to me:
“Rosalie… clean up this kitchen! If we get robbed tonight, I don’t want the robbers to think we keep a dirty house.” Mamma Mia!
“Rosalie be sure to watch my eyes tonight at Aunt Mary’s house. If they say no seconds, then don’t ask, you hear me?” Mamma Mia!
“Rosalie, change your underwear before we go out tonight. If we get into an accident, at least the doctor knows we are clean people.” Mamma Mia!
Rosalie…only take one meatball at the table today. I have them counted out, and the adults get two.” Mamma Mia!
And so, it is with the Italian mammas. Most everything is drama, and at high tone levels. She makes her point, and the children must make it also. Main thing: don’t embarrass momma! She must be known as the solid rock, who raises her children to be the best she can produce. Because if she gets agitated, surprised, or even joyful, she may cry out, “Mamma Mia!” Believe me, there is no mamma, like the Italian mamma!
Happy Mother’s Day
My mother: Ann Fiorino