By Christopher Gomez
This year in celebration of Mother’s Day, I would love to take the time to highlight the incredible mammas living in Little Italy. I’m turning over this piece to the Little Italy Moms for them to share what they love about living in Little Italy and how they’re planning on celebrating this year in our beautiful neighborhood!
The below were answered by Mim, with two children ages 5 and 7, as well as Christina who has a 3-year-old child.
As a mom, what does Little Italy mean to you?
M: As a mom, Little Italy means community, accessibility and energy. The friendships I’ve made here, especially through the Little Italy Moms Facebook group, will be lifelong. Having a Farmer’s Market to visit on Saturdays right down the street, or Buon Appetito Market to grab milk, bread or whatever I need mid-week, or a friendly coffee at Influx for my Sunday morning ritual — these are lifesavers! We love watching the cars, fire trucks, trolley, ships and trains from our window. My kids know how and when to cross the street, how to use public transit, and are learning the manners necessary for apartment living — all thanks to this awesome neighborhood! Last year when the shops were only allowing a limited number of people in, my Little Italy Mom friends and I would share our grocery lists and make sure we picked up groceries for each other when we braved our trips to the local grocery store. The people who live here are so neighborly and giving. And it’s so central that we can easily explore other areas of the city.
C: As a mom, Little Italy is a great place for family and friends to enjoy Downtown San Diego living. I’ve never had such a welcoming community experience. I love walking around and running into friends out and about. There are so many friendly neighbors and kid-friendly activities to meet locals. Little Italy is also great for parents for a day or night out with great food, views and sometimes music.
During this pandemic, what have you done to stay safe while having fun with your kids in Little Italy?
M: Early in the pandemic, when all the shops and restaurants were closed, my youngest learned to ride his bike without training wheels in the empty parking lot across the street from our building. Last year for Easter, we had fun searching the neighborhood for the Easter egg drawings people had hung in their windows. We planted a balcony garden last year and again this year, watching strawberries, tomatoes, herbs, cucumbers, sweet peas and carrots grow. We’ve spent a lot of time in our building’s pool, and even more time just at home. Our family has also built a tradition of Fun Friday family movie nights, with take-out from local restaurants.
In the beginning, it was extra tough for the kids not to be able to go on any playground equipment, but we got in lots of walks and bike/scooter rides. We flew kites at the Waterfront Park and drove all around San Diego for lots of hikes and beach days. It was a big transition for them to have to wear masks whenever we left the front door, but now it’s second nature for them. And there’s a lot more handwashing and sanitizing in our lives now! We’re so thankful to the folks at the Little Italy Association for keeping the sidewalks clear and the trash cans available.
C: We were still able to stay active taking walks and riding bikes. Even when parks were closed, the neighborhood was safe to enjoy fresh air. I recall we were walking down Little Italy and my daughter had a bubble wand which was making bubbles with the wind. As we watched bubbles float through the sky, to see neighbors come to windows, smiles and waves just helped us all feel still connected and a community.
How will you be celebrating Mother’s Day in Little Italy, safely?
M: Sundays are Mama’s Day Off in my house, and Mother’s Day is no different. I’ll head to Influx for breakfast and then have a long walk along the bay and the neighborhood. We might order Mr. Moto delivery or from our favorite Vietnamese place for dinner.
C: I will be enjoying a small family brunch at our place in open common areas. Then we’ll be taking a nice stroll while my daughter can ride her tricycle getting fresh air.
What’s your hope for the future?
M: So many of our friends and neighbors have moved away from the neighborhood as their families and needs have changed. I do dream of having a place with a yard someday! But for at least a couple more years, my dream is to keep thriving where we’re planted, in a neighborhood we love, watching the city change and grow around us.
C: I hope we are all able to move forward and be a bit more grateful, wiser and compassionate to each other after all of this. Also loving the new outdoor seating and hope it stays for the long-term. And let’s not forget takeout and home deliveries with drinks after a long day with kiddos. It’s nice to have custom cocktails, from our favorite local restaurants, as we relax at the end of the day. Truly looking forward to the day when all masks are down and we are all smiles.
To the moms of Little Italy: we love you and thank you for being such a bright light in our neighborhood each and every day. Buona Festa della Mamma, Happy Mother’s Day!
For the latest updates on Little Italy, please visit us at LittleItalySD.com or follow us on Instagram @LittleItalySD, Twitter @LittleItalySD and Facebook @LittleItalySD.
— Christopher Gomez has been Little Italy’s district manager since 2000. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.