Not all those who wander are lost.

Vi Presento Vera – La Piu Grande

Before I left the States back in March, Tonja emailed me a recent photo of the kids. My mother took a look at the photo,  pointed to Vera, and without hesitation said “You’re gonna have your hands full with that one.” I don’t know what it was that my mom saw, but she was right.

Vera is 9 years old and she is the best Italian instructor I have ever had, correcting not only my grammar but also my pronunciation regularly. She does a great job explaining to vocabulary to me, defining the new words out of old words I know. Vera is also the epitome of La Piu Grande – the oldest child. She seeks to be right, to please, and offers unsolicited advice on how to properly do just about anything. She is eager to help with any task, but doesn’t quite know how and more often than not, she just ends up contributing to more chaos. She is sly and clever as she effortlessly shifts the blame onto her younger sister for any wrongdoing.

When you are juggling 4 children under the age of 10, it is hard to remember that the oldest child is still a child. Vera is expected to be responsible, reliable, to know what is and isn’t okay, to keep an eye on her siblings at all times…it is a tough job, and I can relate. When you are always in charge of taking care of others, you forget to take care of yourself. Luckily, Vera discovered the importance of Alone Time at a much younger age than I did. I often see her wander off into her own world, a world where she can speak to animals, a world of song and dance. She has a creative spirit and an incredible sense of humor; I know that in the Gelli household, this will be encouraged to continue.

I have tried to show Vera that being the oldest is not a burden, in the end it is a blessing. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. I hope she listened.


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