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Sleepless Nights and Kisses for Breakfast: Reflections on Fatherhood (English Edition) par [Matteo Bussola]

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Sleepless Nights and Kisses for Breakfast: Reflections on Fatherhood (English Edition) Format Kindle

4,1 4,1 sur 5 étoiles 37 évaluations

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Description du produit


The Elephant’s Weight
It was January 2007, a Saturday just like today. The sky was low and full of clouds.
I was at the hospital. Seeing the doctors go by, the women in robes, the coffee machines, and the fact that I was about to become a father for the first time made me feel like I wasn’t myself, like I was watching someone else’s life.
It was nighttime, I was in the waiting room, and I saw no one smoking. “People always smoke in the movies,” I thought. But I don’t. That also added to my perception of the whole scene as unreal, in slow motion, through a filter.
That filter was me. It was my old conception of myself, my old life, my old idea of everything, everything that was about to change, looming overhead like the puckered clouds outside.
Paola was calm, whereas I was like a drunk one glass short of too many. I went around in a haze, with unsteady feet and an idiotic smile that, seen from the outside, must have made me look relaxed to the point of either unconsciousness or mental impairment.
First, the nurse said eight, then nine, then ten, then eleven, then it stopped making any difference.
It was a long night, interminable—in which I faced all my fears at once and all my powerlessness at once; first all the anxiety and then the adrenaline crash, releasing a joy that had been held under pressure and almost rabidly pervaded my senses.
And so now, as I’m writing this, I realize that in reality I don’t want to describe the situation, the terror, the strength I saw and experienced. Because it’s not possible or because I don’t know the right way to say it. And also because these things are so personal and different for everybody; therefore, my experience would ultimately remain just that: mine.
What I actually want to say—which is also the reason behind this journal, which I’m typing quickly on my iPad while the girls are getting ready for school—is that, in my opinion, there are two decisive moments in a man’s life: there’s the before, and there’s the after. 
The before and after aren’t the same for everyone. I know people for whom the after was a breakup, others for whom it was getting married. For some it was finding their dream job, for some others it was finding a job at all. For others, the after was going to Haiti with Doctors Without Borders. Once I talked to this old man who I kept just wanting to hug, and he told me what it was like after being liberated by the Americans, and how there are things that cancel out every after and blur lots of befores, that change your future forever right before your eyes.
When you become a father, your after weighs about seven and a half pounds. You can tell even from the first second that this will be a definitive after, the only thing in your life there’s no turning back from. Not even if you wanted to, not even if you tried your hardest—no matter what you do with your future, that after will never change.
In return, it will change you. It’s already changing you; it already has, in a way you don’t know how to articulate but feel in your arms and your legs—a metamorphosis.
In terms of pounds, now I’ve got about a hundred more. Every day I lug them to school and everywhere else I go. I move like an elephant when I used to move like a gazelle.
But the point is that the gazelle wakes up in the morning because it knows the lion is there. And the lion wakes up every morning because it knows the gazelle is there.
But an elephant couldn’t care less. He doesn’t run and doesn’t hunt. He wakes up after sleeping for a couple hours and does what he needs to do, knowing that it’s precisely his being an elephant that keeps it all together. He wakes up when he needs to and moves slowly, even in a china shop.
But when he moves, it’s neither for a lion nor a gazelle.
He moves because his life began when he became an elephant. It began after. And that after, the elephant’s after, is the only after in the world that is also a before. It’s the ultimate before, the before everything, the beginning and the ending at the same time. It’s actually the only experience that cancels out every before and after and transforms everything into a while.
An elephant lives only in the present and knows that his present has a certain weight; he feels it in his arms and legs. In his back.
Therein lies his strength. All the strength he needs.
The kind gazelles wish they had and lions can only dream of.
Why Kids Have to Go to School
I’m in the car, taking Ginevra and Melania to nursery school after taking Virginia to catch the bus for elementary school.
“Dad, why do kids have to go to school?”
“Eh, Ginevra, because they have to.”
“But why do kids have to go to school though?”
“Because it’s their job. Mommies’ and daddies’ job is to work. Kids’ job is going to school.”
“But if kids have a job, then why don’t we get any money?”
“Oh, you do get money, you know! You bet you do. It just that we daddies and mommies save it for you. Then when you get older, we give it to you.”
“How much do we get, Daddy?”
“Hmm, quite a bit. Especially kids who behave at school.”
“Like more than a euro?”
“Um, yes, yes, a lot more.”
“How much more?”
“Ten euros.”
“TEN EUROS? That’s a lot!”
“Daddy, when we get back home, will you show me my money?”
I think, “Thank God I didn’t say five hundred.”
“Sure, Ginevra. I’ll show you today when you get home.”
“But Daddy, do you get paid for your job too?”
“Well, of course.”
“Do you get ten euros too?”
“No, no, I get more. Because I’m a grown-up.”
“How much?”
“Twenty euros.”
“TWENTY EUROS? Then you have a ton of money! You’re rich!”
“No, Ginevra, twenty euros isn’t that much money.”
“But you’re rich, right?”
I look at her in the rearview mirror. I see her eyes laughing. Beside her, Melania is sucking on a sock.
“Of course.”
Kids’ Party
Paola’s away for work, the two little ones are at Grandma and Grandpa’s, and Virginia and I are home alone.
Yesterday I took her to one of those horrible elementary school birthday parties. It was held in the Sunday school basement, which the priest was kind enough to let them use, and the atmosphere was straight out of Nightmare on Elm Street. The ceilings were barely six feet high, there were tiny slits for windows, a few sad streamers on the walls, and a crooked banner that said “Happy Birthday Mar a na,” since the kids had already pulled down some of the letters. The mothers were all huddled in the back corner next to the potato chips and corn puffs, like so many hens in battery cages.
When we went in, since I was the only dad there, they eyed me as if a drunk, naked Hun had crashed their Christmas portrait session. But it lasted only a second, because moms like me.
After about three minutes Maria Carla was talking to me about her stiff neck; Mattia’s mom was telling me I look like that guy, what’s-his-name, you know who I mean, come on; and the birthday girl’s mother had brought me a salami sandwich.
All I wanted was to die, and in fact, I stubbornly kept my coat fully zipped and my scarf on, as the international sign for, “I’m just dropping her off and coming to pick her up later; don’t get any ideas, my getaway car’s out front with the motor running and a body in the trunk.” But no, I had to stay half an hour to suffer a conversation that was worse than having your bunions hammered with a burning hot pile driver.
Even better, as I whispered goodbye to Virginia, “Have fun, I’ll be back to pick you up at seven,” the birthday girl’s father came in loaded with trays, and cast me a look worse than a stray dog with mange in a spring thunderstorm.
“Where the hell are you going?” the look said. “You can’t leave me alone with them. There’s a blood pact between all men in the world, and you know it, you bastard. Stay here, and we’ll share our unfortunate lot like real brothers.”
I looked back at him, and my look said, “Like hell, this is your party and your daughter, and I had one of these things not so long ago and I don’t recall seeing you in my house, jerk. And be grateful I don’t trip you and make you drop all those mini sandwiches with mini toothpick flags stuck in them.”
And his eyes shot back, “That’s not cool, why do you have to be so stubborn? Everyone makes mistakes, and I didn’t even know about your party—my wife only tells me what she wants and she kept the invitation from me, I’m sorry.”
So I gave in to sentiment and went over and took half the trays, and when we set them on the big table, he smiled at me conspiratorially, elbowing me and saying, “Should we have a beer? Huh, huh?”
And already at “be—” you could feel the blast of wind from twenty-four mothers turning toward him in unison and giving him the stink eye as if he had cursed in church, or rather, at Sunday school.
“Beer at a kids’ party, did you say? Shame on you!” said their forty-eight accusatory eyes. At which I caught the ball mid-bounce, put a hand on his arm, brother-like, and told him, “Hey, thanks, but I’ve got minestrone on the stove at home and I’ve still got to stop at the store.”
At that moment, the twenty-four looks instantly transformed into expressions of exuberant sympathy and I came out strutting like a rooster, stroked by twenty-four pairs of eyelashes of mothers who had just heard the word “minestrone” from an Italian man without it being in the sentence: “Hey, is the minestrone ready yet?”
I said goodbye to Virginia again with a kiss on the forehead and went out into the crisp evening air. As I was heading to the car, some kid threw a noisemaker at me, making me jump, and I nearly fell over. I couldn’t help but think that bastard had sent a hit man after me as a warning. “Come back inside,” that noisemaker said, “or things will go south fast—remember we have your daughter!”
But I didn’t let myself be intimidated. Decisive, I got in the car, drove off, and went to the discount store, where I did the grocery shopping, like a real man. Then I went home, washed the dishes, answered three emails, fed the dogs, and it was already time to go pick her up.
“Did you have fun, Virginia?” I asked, helping her into her coat.
“Yes, Papa. Will you make me pizza tonight?”
“There’s not enough time for the dough to rise tonight, but I’ll make it for you tomorrow, I promise.”
She smiled and we said goodbye to everyone and rushed up the stairs as Maria Carla looked at us as if to say, “Please take me with you, even if it’s in the trunk next to the body!” And the birthday girl’s mother was yelling at her husband, who had just eaten the last mortadella sandwich without asking.
Garrett (Or, on Common Sense)
I have two dogs. A few years ago I had four, but then, life happened.
The bigger of the two is called Garrett in homage to a friend of ours who, at the time, was at the Lucca Comics convention presenting a comic miniseries with that title.
Garrett is actually Tuscan, because we adopted him at the Lucca convention that year.
Paola was pregnant with Virginia, and she’d said she wanted to have lunch away from the comics crowd that day. We braved the outskirts of town, discovering that there was also intelligent life outside. We found a nice little place called ScusaAmeri—it’s still there, I checked—where Paola ordered a big plate of sausages and frankfurters with chips, since salad was off limits during pregnancy. Whereas I wasn’t pregnant, but you know, solidarity.
Behind me there was a bulletin board with announcements. Among the “1986 Tuareg dirt bike for sale, like new” and “does God exist or is he just pretending” announcements, a photo of a sweet fuzzy face stood out. It looked like a cross between a mushroom and Fozzie Bear from the Muppets. Paola took the flyer and started staring at it with sentimental, glistening eyes. The sheet with the photo of the little face read: “Three-month-old lost puppy in need of a forever home. If I don’t find anyone I’ll have to take him to the shelter, because I can’t keep him.” There was a phone number, followed by “ask for Eleonora.”
It should be mentioned that we already had three dogs at the time. For that very reason, we had just gone and rented a run-down old house because it had a giant yard.
Paola looked at me imploringly. I’d read somewhere that it’s better not to say no to pregnant women. I thought of the 1600-square-footyard, the old pines. Of my parents, who would say indignantly, “What? You have three already!” Of the number of turds that were enough as it was and that I would have to pick up off the lawn every day. Of the coming daughter who would turn our lives upside down in a way that wasn’t possible to imagine yet, not even a little. Despite that, in a surge of love and tenderness I thought, “Why not, what’s a little more poop?”
“Okay, call,” I said.
“Are you serious?” Paola said.
“No, no, call, really,” I said. “Let’s at least see him, why not.”
Paola threw her arms around my neck and then called—maybe not in that order.
The girl arrived in her Ford Fiesta fifteen minutes later. The puppy from the photo leapt out of the back. Funny, sweet, and adorable. The only odd detail was his enormous paws, totally disproportionate compared with the rest of his body. I looked at Paola, perplexed.
 “You said he should stay more or less this same size, right?” I asked.
“Um, yeah. Yeah. It’s a breed that stays pretty small . ..” Paola said.
“Okay,” I said.
We thanked the girl and left with a hug and an exchange of numbers and addresses. Suddenly we had a dog, in Lucca.

--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition hardcover.

Revue de presse

"A charming and delightful look at fatherhood."
Publishers Weekly

"Richards’s translation reads well, as neither American nor British English but as Italian English, if there is such a thing. Verdict: A perfect summer read that will allow parents, dads especially, to reflect upon their own experiences raising children."
Library Journal starred review

"Bussola has written a heartwarming collection of vignettes about his cosmopolitan life in Verona, Italy, with his wife and three young daughters. What started out as a Facebook journaling project has turned into a best-selling book in Italy. The storytelling skills he’s honed as a successful cartoonist are aptly put to use in this newly translated memoir."

"Sweet . . . . Charming, 'near-daily snapshots' of fatherhood."
Kirkus Reviews --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition hardcover.

Détails sur le produit

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B01LXZOR2K
  • Éditeur ‏ : ‎ TarcherPerigee (9 mai 2017)
  • Langue ‏ : ‎ Anglais
  • Taille du fichier ‏ : ‎ 2742 KB
  • Synthèse vocale ‏ : ‎ Activée
  • Lecteur d’écran  ‏ : ‎ Pris en charge
  • Confort de lecture ‏ : ‎ Activé
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Activé
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Activé
  • Pense-bêtes ‏ : ‎ Sur Kindle Scribe
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée  ‏ : ‎ 279 pages
  • Commentaires client :
    4,1 4,1 sur 5 étoiles 37 évaluations

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