When I was a child, I remember going to one grandparents house or another for Sunday dinners. Long, lazy afternoons.Tables piled with food. Just sitting around talking, sharing, catching up with aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings.
On one side of the family, there was Middle Eastern, Polish and Ukrainian food and on the other, there was Italian. My childhood was made up of ethnic foods that I took for granted until adulthood.
There was dolma, steamed rice, chicken, beef stew, perogies, kielbasa, golumpkis, handmade spaghetti, ravioli's, lasagna, huge pots of meatballs and sausage. Well, I could go on, but you get the idea.
Looking back now, I realize how precious those Sunday dinners were. One very precious memory I have is my Italian grandfather sitting on the floor teaching me to play Rummy 500 and listening to Harry Kalas on the radio with the TV muted.
My Italian great-grandparents had 9 children, who had children, who had grandchildren. Those Sunday dinners were outrageous! Three long tables set up throughout their house to try and accommodate everyone.
Sunday dinner was a tradition, surrounded by family. Traditions that have fell by the wayside in this fast-paced world we live in now. I feel like we don't take the time to just be together. Everyone rushing to go somewhere, do something, or just do nothing.
Most of our children live too far to have Sunday dinners every week, as well as my siblings and mother. I try to get us all together as much as possible but I MISS that Sunday dinner tradition. My grandparents were lucky. They got to see us grow up. I was lucky to have my grandparents in my life for a long time.
Now that my husband is ill, my wish is for more family get togethers. For him to see his grandchildren as much as possible. I want them to remember him like I remember my grandparents.
I did start a new tradition this past Christmas. I bought a white tablecloth and provided them with markers. Everyone signed their name and drew a picture. We will continue to fill up that tablecloth. My hope is that years from now, I can bring it out and we can reminisce about happy times they remember.
As we get older or face a life-threatening illness, we develop a bittersweet longing for things, persons, or situations of the past. My only hope is that our children and grandchildren remember us as fondly as I remember those Sunday dinners.