i am not a skinny woman. i used to be. 31 pounds skinnier to be exact. even when i was skinnier, i was not the cheerleader type. i was more the smoke camel cigarettes and drink peach schnaaps kind of girl.

since my mother was diagnosed with dementia i have been trying anything to stop her from crying. so all 175 pounds of me started making up cheers. not just saying the words. but trying to coordinate hand and jumping gestures to the words.

“it’s okay. it’s alright.” not so original i admit.

“happy hands. happy feet.” really not a cheer i agree.

“ciao. arreverdici, ce vediamo.” in poorly pronounced italian.

i would sort of do a side kick and flail my arms around. my mom would smile. my dad, who witnessed this for the first time last night, laughed.

“if you are okay then i am okay.”

a cheerleader i was not meant to be.

i am a first generation italian-american who grew up in southern new jersey. Life is amazingly beautiful and devastating. Sometimes in the same day.

i am a first generation italian-american who grew up in southern new jersey. Life is amazingly beautiful and devastating. Sometimes in the same day.