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31 Days of Free Writes: Eat, 31 Life Lessons: Keep Connected

I smiled when I saw this word prompt because I had just eaten.
A lot.
Thursdays mean 'family dinners' with my parents, sister, and kids.
It's the one night that we are all free.
Usually what happens is that my mom cooks a feast.
Every Thursday.
Something new every week (with a few standards for picky kids).
A spread.
My mom is a wonderful cook.  There's no debating it.  She just really knows how to season food.  She always has. It's not bland.  It's layered with flavor.
Thursday evening finds us in our SUV, our tires fast swallowing the twelve minutes of road that stretches between my parents' house and mine.
We pull into the driveway careful to avoid the plants reaching out of the flower beds.
Doors slam before I can even unbuckle my seatbelt, my kids racing out of the car and up the front porch loudly ringing the door bell.  And theres my dad.  With twinkling eyes and a chipper,  "Why, Hello." A smile playing softly at the corners of his mouth.
The girls fill the house with so much animated noise and my parents just smile. My baby boy toddles around, smiling at what he can do and toppling over from time to time.  
In a short while, my sister comes in to the house cheerful, but exhausted from all of her work.  She can be found hovering over serving bowls and dishes sampling pre meal.
It's family dinner night and for a couple of hours we will all be with each other again.
Recently my mom told me, "Your dad and I look forward to Thursday all week.  We anticipate you and your sister and all of the kids being here. It's the highlight of our week."
I can see them in my mind's eye discussing what mom will make, what the kids will do and say, and how happy they will be to have my sister Faith come over, eat, and then fall asleep in her childhood room until late in the night under familiar blankets and a whirling ceiling fan, deeply napping on a full belly.
It's nostalgic for sure.
A slice of the way things used to be.  Only different. There's more life now.  More life multiplied in the lives of four grandkids.  My kids, my sister's nieces and nephews.
Tonight the table cloth was covered with golden fried tortillas cradling shredded spicy pork, lime wedges, fresh cilantro, queso, juicy tomatoes, a pan of enchiladas, a few side dishes, and a from scratch Razzleberry pie.
Those pork tacos were so good.  Not bland at all, such fresh and vivd flavor.  I eyed the serving dish suspiciously spying pork rather than chicken.  I asked about the origin of this dish.  You know, so I could recreate it.  But I never got a real solid answer.  Whatever my mom did to the pork it was just right and quite Tex-Mex bright.
There was laughter, the most food any of us have probably eaten all week, and a dance party for the girls after the food was cleared.  My mom dancing with the girls as my dad played them their requests.
My sister left the table to nap before heading home to her cats.
Minutes merged into an hour and I insisted to my girls it was time to go for the night and there would be no more, "Just one more song, puhh-lease Mom!"
I packed up the bags and went to my sister's old room and found her wrapped in the down blanket.
"Goodnight Sweet Faith" I whispered into the darkness.
She wasn't asleep, "Good night Somer."
I laid beside her tucked the covers around me and talked to her for a few minutes.
I kissed her cheek and walked out the room and scooped up my kids and belongings as my parents helped me load up my crew.
Food is necessary.  Food is nourishing. Food is nostalgic.
Food is the thing we say we are coming over for and gathering over and so we are, but the real food is heart food and that's found in all of the smiles, jokes, plates passed, stories, dance parties, and yes even naps we all share.
It's the food we come for, but really it's the love.  The eating draws us in to connection.
We might come because we get thick slices of raspberry filled pie crust, but we are filled from a place deep within when our dad plays us 'our song'.  The one we sang together growing up and only means something to us.

Last week's dessert : Lemon Meringue Pie  ( I always eat my leftover piece for breakfast)
My sister and I aways ate pie and a glass of milk for breakfast when we lived at home with my mom and she blessed us with a homemade pie.  

My sister and I


  1. What a lovely, heartwarming post! This is something I never had...but thanks to your words I have not missed out completely.

    #2 at FMF this week.

  2. Somer, what a blessing you have in your family! What a delightful tradition for your kiddos. My parents live about 1 1/4 hours from us. Much closer than we used to live, but not close enough to have dinner every Thursday night. :)

    Your post also made me hungry!

    I love when love surrounds a dinner table. Thank you for sharing how your family lives out connecting!

  3. Somer, I so enjoyed your description of a family dinner. #55 on fmf this week


  4. Such a great gathering when you can get you're family altogether! I live far from my parents and I miss those days. Lovely post!

  5. I love this post, Somer and what a beautiful photo of you and your sister -- gorgeous! I love it that your mom plans and looks forward to your visit all week and I love how you gather around the table. Those will be some of your kids' favorite memories that they'll treasure forever. I know listening to my mom and her sisters tell stories and talk were my favorite memories growing up and they didn't happen nearly often enough for my liking, since we all lived on opposite ends of town. Food connects us and is the language of our souls! xo


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