Literally THOUSANDS of Italian mothers in southern Italy are sending lovingly and extravagantly made meals to their adult children who have moved to other parts of the country. About 3,000 mothers have hired one delivery man, Domenico Martino, to take their care packages north weekly in a semi-truck.
“For generations, Calabrian women have poured their maternal love into Sunday lunch. They labor to produce sumptuous meals of fresh pasta, long-stewed meats and homegrown greens to lure their grown children back to the nest every week. It was easy when the children lived nearby or—as was often the case—in upstairs apartments built or bought by their parents. But today, the Sunday lunch tradition has fallen on hard times.”
“Jobs for young Italians are scarce—particularly in Italy’s poorer south—forcing people to migrate north to big cities, leaving their mothers behind. In Calabria, on the toe of Italy’s boot, 52% of Italians between the ages of 15 to 64 were “inactive,” or not working or studying during most of 2010, according to Italy’s official statistics agency ISTAT. Authorities say Calabria is also home to the ‘ndrangheta mob, a drug trafficking syndicate that maintains a stranglehold on the region’s economy, starving the area of jobs.”
So why are they sending the food by truck several hours away? You get different answers depending on who you talk to. The truck driver thinks the mothers don’t want their children having to do anything. One of the mothers using the service says her daughter is working too hard. Another mother says the umbilical cord was never cut. A son, who more than happily takes the meals, says the separation has been hard on his mother (Let me give that one a big hummmphhh!)
It reminds me of mothers sending care packages to college. But in college, young men or women may not have access to a big kitchen or may not know how to cook. You would think as adults they would have both both things.
Is this about the parents not being able to separate? Is this about the kids being lazy? Is this about the kids working hard and not having take-out or grocery store convenience food readily available in Italy? Is that somehow more degrading to get a meal from a grocery store instead of your mother if you don’t have time to cook for your family?
This paragraph does tell me something though:
“Eventually, some 3,000 mothers came calling, each with a set of special requests, Mr. Martino recalls. Many wanted a discount on what traditional couriers charged; others wanted meals to arrive in time for lunch. Some have asked him to linger at the delivery site to gather intelligence on their children’s new lives. Others demanded his cellphone number.”
Maybe they want to stay connected to their kids and stay in their children’s lives even if they’re far away. They have always cooked to show love. And so even though it seems crazy to send homecooked meals hours and hours away, it’s one of the only ways they know how to show their kids they love them.
Is that so wrong?
So what do you think of thousands of mothers sending meal north to their grown kids? Have you ever mailed special food items to your kids (at camp or college)? Are these mothers out of control and need to let go? Or do you just think they are showing love one way they know how?