A few months back, my family nearly fell apart. Here’s how it all went down from my mom’s perspective. In this post, mom talks about our new tradition of weekly family dinners…a welcome change from how it used to be.
Note: last week, my dad took over my blog with poems. This week, my mom takes over my blog with an in-depth discussion of how our family imploded and came back together. These are some of the toughest posts I’ve ever published. Except for minor stylistic changes, these are unedited. Love you mom, dad, and sis. P.S. I’m moving out March 1st…cause I’m all growned up now!
A Slice of Our Lives
For the first Family Dinner – AKA FamDin – Josh prepared fish tacos with homemade mayonnaise and a spicy salsa fresco called pico de gallo. Simple yet scrumptious. Of course I was only the temporary sous chef ‘til Sabrina arrived and I needed no praise, but I blushingly accepted kudos for my vegetable dicing which everyone agreed was quite simply brilliant.
(Josh and Sabrina are our adult kids. They’re living with mummy and daddy, i.e. me and Kent. Omigawd this can’t possibly be working, can it?? By golly, I believe it is! Read on)
The next FamDin , Sabrina (with Josh sous-chefing) served us a wonderful Vietnamese pho, which she’d made from scratch. Four huge bowls of tasty broth filled with flat noodles and veggies, each bowl accompanied by a beautifully arranged side plate, containing bean sprouts, Vietnamese basil and tiny hot peppers. Porcelain soup spoons and chopsticks perched cheekily on matching dishes.
Entertainment was provided by Kent and Josh who’d tossed all their hot peppers into their pho causing their faces to turn many fascinating and entertaining shades of red. And oh how they coughed and their eyes watered! Lah, what fun! Sabrina I laughed and clapped our little hands with glee. Hilarity reigned that night.
For dessert there was cake made of: Chantilly cream, chocolate, strawberries, mille feuilles pastry and sin.
There was tea and coffee. With Splenda.
Our dinner conversation was, as always, stimulating. We caught up on the week’s activities. Both Josh and Sabrina had done many many interesting things involving their jobs in fundraising and environmental activism; as well as basketball, swing dancing, jazz choir, conferences, musical improv, diversity training sessions, voluntarism and a busy social life.
Then it was over to me and Kent. He and I had watched some good t.v. which we were pretty happy to talk about especially the one where Castle and Kate solved that murder of the rich girl but Kate was wearing this trench coat that I really didn’t think suited her and she really should wear brighter colours and get a good hair style but maybe that’s just me. Sabrina and Josh stared at us spellbound. We knew they were mighty impressed by our incisive t.v. show deconstruction.
We were also going to tell them both about how Kent will always advise cops on t.v. to “call for backup”- because this is stuff we know and can share with them. But we didn’t want to wake them.
A week previously we’d had Shabbat (or, for our acutely Ashkenaz readers, Shabbiss) Family dinner. Candles were lit, the prayer was chanted. Our greasy grasping hands tore into roast chicken (or roz’cheek’n) and crammed it along with gravy and roast potatoes and carrots and Sabrina’s amazing sautéed cabbage down our gullets.
At that dinner we talked about much more emotionally difficult things, like Kent and I starting estate planning for when we, y’know, popped off and nobody was ready for the feelings that were aroused. So there were misunderstandings and some tears and some things said that probably needed to be said. Some other things, maybe not.
These dinners were the latest two of a regular series of family dinners since our adult children came to live with us 3-1\2 months ago. Josh is 32; Sabrina, 30.
We went into this with many misgivings. This parents/adult kids living together thing never goes well. It certainly hadn’t with us in the past. But this time everyone wanted it to work. That’s an important distinction.
We’re having conversations about what chores Josh and Sabrina can do. I gently and lovingly guide them into how to use the dishwasher.
RUNNING MONOLOGUE IN MY MIND: Okay are you crazy? You don’t friggin’ put the drinking glasses in the same row with the mugs!! Stop! I told you the bowls go in first, behind them the small plates then the big ones, (I’m getting a panic attack. Must do yoga breathing. Yesss. Better now.)
Where the hell are you putting those forks???!!! That’s the teaspoon slot!!!
So that went well I think.
For the most part things have been…I dunno…good. Great, often. Interesting, always. It shouldn’t be so good, this new situation. For any of the four of us. Yeah, there’ve been lumpy bits, okay, but mostly…yeah…good.
I’m finding that I love listening to the soft voices of our kids cooking in the kitchen, alternating as chef and sous. They’re so linked to each other, intuitively picking up each other’s needs, requesting/carrying out the cooking steps smoothly and with good humour, joking, chatting and catching up on the day.
Here, I feel warm and content. All is right with the world.
Which is odd because this whole contented living together thing started from a place of darkness and despair.
Image courtesy of Sabrina Bowman.
Find out why in Part Two, tomorrow…