Oh Taormina! Your picturesque streets, dazzling vistas, and romantic aura charm everyone who visits you. I’ve been hooked since my first visit over two years ago, which was also my very first “mom and kids outing” with my best friend Becca Arthur. We have visited this beautiful town together so many times, but this was our last trip together, as the Arthurs were moving to the States in just two days. So bittersweet!
Lucas shares some pizza. Caleb participates vicariously in the bite from the background.
Making friends with little Italian boys by the town fountain.
Our motley crew outside a Versace store
& peekaboo, Lena and Caleb!
Fascinated by the little mechanical toys in the piazza
& admiring the view from the cliffs of Taormina.
My pretty Lena… with a frown.
Mandatory stop for the best granite (Italian ice) in Taormina! Lena got strawberry and lemon, and I got peach and lemon, both made with fresh fruit. Gil got a taste but wasn’t so sure…
Rebecca enjoying granita and brioche for the last time in Taormina with her Lucas, Baby Eden, and Caleb.
Last adventure of the day: walking up to the Greek amphitheater! This was the first time I had visited, even though it’s a huge attraction in Taormina. Lena and Lucas wait for us to buy tickets so they can go in the gate.
The Arthur kids have visited many times and had fun showing Lena all the fun places to climb.
We loved exploring the old amphitheater and admiring the gorgeous view from the top. The theater was all set up for summer concerts and operas, which are a big attraction all summer long.
Everyone was pretty tuckered out by this point… including Gil!
Last pit stop: popsicles. They were so so good, but…
… very, very messy!
At the end of that day, with two moms and six kids, we were all ready for a nap!
But leaving Taormina for the last time together was sad. Becca taught me so much about getting out and experiencing the culture of Italy. She embraced her stay-at-home mom status in a totally unique way: she would find another fearless mom, pack multiple children into a minivan, and set off on an all-day adventure around Sicily. She would savor architecture, food, gelato, and beautiful views while navigating rapid Italian, tiny roads, tricky parking, vague directions, and often a very confused GPS. She would roll her eyes and laugh at the chaos of life with so many little children, then pile them into her stroller and strap them onto her back and set off around the next corner. She loved Italy, and Italy loved her back.
Perhaps the parallels between her cultural adventures and the way she lived her everyday life are pretty obvious. In so many ways, she is the mom and woman I aspire to be: warm, generous, self-deprecating, humble, and full of laughter… while also a fabulous cook (including of local specialties), creative mom, come-as-you/we-are hostess, and loyal friend. In some ways, Becca was my first “mom” friend, someone I bonded with not just because we had a lot in common and loved being together, but someone whose kids loved my kids and who shared mothering — in all its crushing losses and thrilling joys — with me in everyday life.
I miss you, Becca! Can’t wait for some adventures together soon in North Carolina!