At the Western MA Writing Project, we do a Write Into The Day. Today’s was “What is the greatest gift you have ever received?”
When I was 9, my dad and I took our normal family vacation. It was our first summer without my mom. I’m sure I was horribly cranky and whiney, as I tended to be throughout childhood. We had flown into Rome where we were going to spend a week before going onto Florence and Naples. I remember being so tired and sweaty after landing. We took the subway into the neighborhood of our hotel. I was lugging my suitcase up the dark stairs, the bright sunlight in the doorways leading to the street. The staircase felt like it would never end. I finally reached the top and suddenly, there it was, basking in the July sun: The Coliseum. I remember just staring at it in awe. I’d seen Paris the year before, but this was different. This was ancient. This was … colossal. My dad tells the story with me saying “It’s there, it’s really there,” over and over again. I think this moment is the moment I began to believe that it would really all be OK. I’m sure I was cranky and whiney on the trip, as I was on other trips (I have a very distinct memory of tears and yelling at the market in Nice a few years later, but it lead to some great food and an amazing view) and in regular life (honestly, I still am), but the moment of stepping into the sunlight in front of the Coliseum, my dad at my side, everything started to be OK once more.