the big room

Michael walks through the door with Nora, back from Christmas holidays in Ontario. “Hey, I was thinkin'” he says, “You wanna move to Toronto?”


He laughs, “Come on, I got a lot of old friends there, it’s cheaper to live-”


“And there’s more work.”

“Think, Nora, Mommy could buy a house in Pickering!”

And that ends that conversation. Nora wraps her arms gingerly around Franken-Mommy and it is so good to see her sweet little face. She is holding a doll that looks freakishly like a mini her who doesn’t blink. The doll is called Mikayla, but I secretly call it Corpse Nora. images

“This is a Journey Doll and she’s half the price of the Maple Leaf dolls! And sure, the Maple Leaf and American dolls can blink but they have so many accessories and clothes it just confuses a person. This cheaper doll is just as good and I think she looks a little like me.”

I chuckle to myself. I see Santa saved a couple bucks and made a speech. To be fair to Santa, it would be ridiculous to buy a Maple Leaf doll for a girl who’s on the cusp on no longer playing with them. Whether she knows this or not. And the doll is very pretty.

“You know what, Nora? I think it’s time you moved into the big room.”

Nora has been living in my walk in closet for a year and a half while I rent out the second bedroom to foreign students. But I just can’t do that to her anymore. She has a mix of joy and sorrow on her face.

“Oh but I love my magical unicorn forest room you made and the bed that Dad built me-“IMG_2633

“We’ll still keep it for when we have guests-”

“It sure would be nice to – OH MOM! I’LL HAVE A WINDOW! I’ve always WANTED a WINDOW!”

This gives me a mix of joy and sorrow on my face.

“Yes, dear, it’s time you had a window and room for your things and a desk for your homework.”

How I’m going to make up the lost income from rental, I don’t know. On top of giving up maid work. Pickering is flickering across my mind…

“And we’ll buy you a nice rug so it’s warm on your toes.”

She gasps with joy again.

“Oh, oh, Mommy, you’re the best! I’ve always wanted a rug!”

Apparently living in a closet breeds gratefulness.

We pick out a cute little leaping sheep rug from Sears and then she sorts through her toys painstakingly. She has two tops and decides to spin them both to see which one she will keep. Even I feel bad for the little pink one when it is the first to sputter and fall.

“I’m going to miss Nonna.” She says in a very small voice and curls up into my arms.

“Me too. Her funeral is going on right about now. Pep is doing the eulogy. He’ll do a great job. He’s funny, respectful and so well spoken. I’m sorry we can’t be there. But at least Auntie Corralee is and Uncle Joey.”

“Because of your tummy?”

“Because of my tummy. I had tickets but I had to cancel them. But we’ll go in August, okay?”

“Nonna gave me this ducky and I will never ever ever ever give it away.” Nora clutches it to her chest vehemently.

“No.You keep that duck. You know what she gave me? A recipe for chicory soup. Let’s make it for supper tonight.”

Ah, the slow slide into the great good. To move into the big girl’s room Nora has to let go of the smaller girl’s treasures. For Nonna to move into the Big life, she has to let go of the smaller life. As I watch the winning top spin I picture Nonna young again, twirling twirling twirling with a black and red skirt and a big wide grin.IMG_2114



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  1. Frank Ueberschar

    Just a thank-you 🙂 That was a lovely read.

    1. Lucia Frangione

      xo Frank!

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