T is for Tulips, Tiramisu and Traditions … #atozchallenge


The A to Z Challenge’s letter for today is T.

Tulips, Tiramisu and Traditions:

I’d stiffly hold the creature hoping it would not twist its tiny paws in my new cascade earrings or regurgitate into my soft cashmere sweater, not feeling anything else but sincere relief when it was returned safely to its mother’s arms.  The latter infallibly staring at me in disbelief that I did not, could not, find her offspring the most delightful creation!

As far as I could remember babies were something people shoved into my arms erroneously hoping that they would somehow awaken some sort of ancestral motherly instinct.

And so it was, until a very cold December: my first nephew was born.  Sebastian was the first baby born into our families, turning the lot of us into first time parents, uncles, aunts and grandparents.

I flew to Manhattan from Buenos Aires to spend Christmas and New Years, and to help with the chore of this new baby which landed onto a houseful of inexperienced adults.

Of course, as happens in any neophyte family, I was immediately asked to sterilize my hands before touching the new born.  Everyone was asked if they were sterile if they approached closer than three feet from the bassinet.  As you can imagine, that practice quickly became obsolete as the days passed by.

When the creature was carefully placed in my newly germ-free hands, a feeling warm and tingly came over me, and I witnessed firsthand what the term “bonding” meant.  I immediately fell in love with this impeccably swaddled baby and I realized, without regrets, I had somehow crossed over to the cooing and baby loving crowd.

Seven educated adults spent their waking hours talking of baby feeding times, diaper rashes, and what color poop The Prince had made that day.  I should say poops in plural, because I never imagined a 7 1/2 pound being could produce so much per day!!

My father used to film us with an 8mm camera, and to keep up with tradition, Alejandra, my sister would record every aspect of the baby’s life on video.  You have no idea how hard it was to film Sebastian’s baths alongside seven rather large adults cramming into a normal Manhattan kitchen (close to 2 feet wide by 3 feet long).

bath time with Cele
Here I am bathing my little Prince!


Tulips, Tiramisu and Traditions are what most come to mind when I remember that December in 1991.

My sister had had a very arduous and prolonged labor, and was terribly tired and sore.  Peter, her husband, was virtually overwhelmed with baby bottles and diapers, and when I arrived, I instantaneously offered my help.  Alejandra at once trusted me with her son’s well being.  Only after I had my own child did I realize and appreciate how much confidence that showed towards me.

Christening Day came… St Thomas Moore was the church paternal grandmother, Sylvia, suggested for such a significant occasion.  It’s a delightful chapel suggesting a cozy English country church, along with a small garden in front.  For years she had safely treasured an incredibly delicate embroidered baby gown which her son and now new father, Peter, had worn in his christening, and she now presented it the new parents.

Sylvia and Sebastian in his christening gown, made by hand in Chile.

That gown has become part of the family tradition… It has also been used by my daughter Sabrina, and by Sebastian’s brother Philip.  I am now the custodian of the beautiful creation, so future generations can use it.

After the ceremony, when we returned to the apartment, I noticed the coffee table was crowned with a lavish vase of hothouse tulips, which were an extravagance, but the occasion well deserved it.

My mother, and Sebastian’s grandmother, sitting in front of the tulips.

After lunch, when my mother produced a luscious Tiramisu for dessert I was surprised by her choice… she had never made it before.  I had thought she served it to start a new family tradition, but with her characteristic detachment she mentioned she had seen mascarpone cheese on sale. Notwithstanding, I cannot see a tiramisu recipe without thinking of Sebastian and his special day.

Maybe it was in rebellion to the noticeable detachment from our mother’s part, that my sister and I became so unwavering with forging traditions for our families.  Sometimes schedules and just life distract us towards different paths, but we both somehow manage to steadfastly continue with these traditions that hopefully will be passed on to many generations.

The Rossettis and The Ryans… a big happy family!


Please leave comments: I’d love to read your comments about having a child… that wondrous feeling of ALL!



My April 21, 2017 post was R…. about Resolutions, intentions and goals.

My April 22, 2017 post was S… about Sabrina, my joy, my daughter.



7 thoughts

  1. What wonderful memories, what a beautiful story. I loved calling Sebastian – the creature- to read it with me!! He got a kick out of the tiramisu part…. so very much his grandmother!! He loves stories and traditions and this meant so much to him!!! Thanks so much for sharing especially since his cousin Sabrina took the letter S already!!!


  2. I enjoyed your post so much – our grandbaby was baptized recently (like your christening) in the gown made by her great great grandmother. It has been worn (there are actually two because we have a lot of twins!) by every baby since she made the gowns. I love traditions!


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