Ours is a large boisterous opinionated family who celebrates often and has a healthy share of disagreements too. Somehow we always manage to “land with our feet on the ground” and hearts full of love. It may take a while, but we always seem to get there. My goodness, did I get the wrong title for this blog post – family, togetherness, love and food? Actually they are very related and here is how.
Since the children were little, Sunday dinners have been a tradition at our house – the one day we gather, eat and share what is going on in our busy lives. When the tradition started, ,my parents lived next door, and they joined us. Raymond’s mom always joins us too because she lives down the street. Our children can, and often do, invite friends, and we can too, but Sundays are sacred – well as sacred as anything can be in this household.
I used to worry, as our children married and our grandchildren arrived, that we would never fit into our less than adequate dining room. We have now installed an outdoor kitchen (much cheaper than knocking down walls). We also redesigned an old table my mom used in her classroom to be our outside table – 13 can easily fit around it and more if we squeeze together, plus we have two additional outside tables.
Then this summer, with an unexpected windfall, we built a pergola over the outdoor kitchen and table so we finally have a central eating area for most of the year. Raymond can even cook outside in the rain because we built a roof over where he cooks. So PROBLEM SOLVED?
Actually no. Right now we have a very different situation. Two of my children either are divorced or in the process of divorcing, and one is estranged from his siblings. This leaves us with a big open dining space and very few diners.
They come over frequently, and we are blessed to have very close relationships with all our amazing children. However, for the moment, Sundays aren’t as sacred as they used to be. We are learning to be more spontaneous and flexible, enjoying them as they can and want to interact. Sometimes that means several smaller dinners in the same week, and that’s ok.
It just seems a little weird that when we finally established a workable area to dine, our numbers shrank. I am very hopeful the numbers will grow again, and we’ll be ready because after all - it’s always a “movable feast.”