Sundays have always been, and still are the day that my parents and siblings get together to celebrate birthdays, or have a nice dinner as an excuse to see one another. When I was younger, my sisters and I would set the table with my mom’s china and haul extra chairs from the kitchen to the dinning room . As our family grew, not only did we have to add extra chairs, but an additional table as well.
The dinner itself didn’t differ much. There was usually some sort of roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, a green salad, always a vegetable dish, and usually sweet pickles and olives. The highchair my mom keeps at her house was constantly occupied by some small child, and we all would eat, chat, and then eat some more. The latter eating could have been any different kind of dessert, but almost always had ice cream to accompany it.
After dinner the guys would usually play basketball (in good weather) or sit in the basement watching some sporting event on tv. The girls would clean up and then sit and chat about everything and nothing while the kids got some good playing time in with their cousins. There was no rushing around, just hanging with the family.
Living far away has not always been an easy adjustment for me. I got really used to the many get-togethers we were able to have and I really missed being surrounded by my family. (even when it gets crazy and loud!) It’s not usually the big events that I miss, just the normal routines that I took for granted all of those years.
Luckily we do have some relatives who live fairly close to us, and we have been able to start up a new Sunday evening tradition with them. About once a month I prepare some sort of dinner contribution, get the kids loaded in the car and spend the next 30 minutes catching up with my cute husband while the kids fight watch a dvd in the backseat. There is rarely much traffic on Sundays, so our drive is quite relaxing, and once in a while we get spoiled with a breathtaking sunset on our way.
Our family (both mine and J’s) has been on the forefront of my mind for the last two weeks as we lost a wonderful uncle and now have two family members in the hospital unexpectedly. Instead of feeling helpless by not being able to be with them, I am comforted knowing that the other relatives can and will rally around our loved ones to give the love and support that they need so much right now. In this last year, I have really started to understand how rare it is to have so many people look out for one another and give of themselves so selflessly all the time. In a word, I have been very humbled.
Sometimes I wonder if that’s part of the reason we moved away; so we could truly appreciate the family that we have been so blessed with, both near and far. And also to discover that we are a pretty strong family unit of our own…