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September 23, 2010

Sunday  night was Fam-din.

Sunday night tradition stands that my  family gathers for dinner at Mom and Dad’s for 13? 15?  years now? It did not begin on purpose, instead it started after a few regular dinners and then grew to be what it is. By all gathering, I mean the 2 young cousins ( the nephews)  who are my brothers age and any girlfriends and now a fiancée, my father’s best friend if he is not in Tahiti or Australia, my sister and crew , my brother and his fiancée,and my menagerie. What once began as a simple dinner is now more often than not a gourmet feast. Oh did I forget to mention that it is my Father who cooks? Yes, while Mom may have worn the chef hat for the majority of my life the cooking bug bit my Father and now he will call to discuss recipes or cooking instructions with me.

I loooovvvvee  Fam-din. Apparently I am not the only one. At the engagement party for Doug and Lauren friends of the nephews waxed poetic about when they had been included for a fam-din. Ask Sarah, I dragged her to one and she claims jealousy on Sundays now. Fine wine, good food, laughter, and an intangible, the magic of gathering with people who love one another.

Yes we bicker, but we laugh more often. Eyes may be rolled but they also meet yours in understanding, In the rush of my weeks, Fam-din is a mooring. I know I will be able to sit with my sister and see her face when she talks not our rushed conversations of the week between making dinners or shuttling of girls. I will see my nieces bright faces and hear of their week, see the new hair cut or admire the latest art and sewing project. The 5 girls will play or wage their territorial wars but they are growing up close, forging friendships that will sustain them as life rolls by. They will have more than just their  sisters as they age, deeper than friendship, their cousins will be there during celebrations and joy, crisis and strife. The girls will know the safe feeling of being surrounded by love, not just mom and dad but the wide reach of Auntie and Uncles. Girls have so few male role models besides their fathers, if you think about it, our birdies will be known by two Uncles who are very much interested in their lives.

Perhaps what makes Fam-din so compelling is the same tug that made Norman Rockwell’s Thanksgiving picture jerk at our heart-strings. We all want a piece of that belonging, a slice of traditional home pie. I’ll admit every Sunday can be a pain, the girls go to bed late, household chores are cut short to leave on time, my family can be as annoying to me  as I can be to them, the drive there and back while not long is nonetheless a drive. But, but , but, it matters. It is worth it. To connect, to belong, to be seen and heard by those you love, to see and hear them, to break bread. At its most primal level we are gathered at the campfire of out ancestors and sharing tales of the day, we are all here ,we are all safe, we are all loved. I introduced my husband at Fam-din. Babies are announced at Fam-din.  Children tell the accomplishments of the week, tooth fairy loot is displayed, sometimes teeth are pulled after much cajoling and Auntie and Tutu argue over who gets to pull, ( Tutu usually wins and I’m running out of possible teeth), disappointments and glories are shared. Football is debated and sometimes blares from the TV in the other room with the men strategically positioned at the table to be there and still see over there. Weight loss and gain, laundry and household, friends and neighbors, everything is fair game at Fam-din, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sometimes Coach and I talk about moving someday to a place with space and where neighbors can’t look from their bathroom to my bedroom, but it always comes down to could we drive to Fam-din? Is 3 hours too far, we could spend the day, eat dinner earlier, Fam-brunch? Families are woven, knitted together by shared experiences, would we unravel with distance? If I could not lie on the sofa with my sister at one end and I on the other fighting over the blanket and asking our brother to put another log on the fire would we miss a part of each other? Would our girls not see why sisters are important, understand through our laughter that this is a bond beyond friends or  husbands. My mother lost her sister over 20 years ago and still mourns the loss of a familiar, someone who knows you from time before time. These are a few of the things I hope Fam-din offers to my girls. A tradition that is probably stronger than Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter, for there is no other reason than to be with each other, share a meal and love. And a very good meal it is indeed.

Should you ever look at life and think it ‘Hmmm it needs a little something” , may I suggest a tradition? Sit down for dinner with friends, with family with each other. Cook it, bring it in or open it up. no matter, just enjoy being together.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 24, 2010 3:27 am

    This is beautiful, Tee. Truly. You captured the feeling at fam-din, but you also spoke to my own memories of my own family, and what I value. I love the image of you and your sister curled up on the couch together, showing your daughters that sisterhood lasts.

    And…in the pic, is Millie texting under the table?? lol!!!

    • September 24, 2010 5:54 pm

      Or is she just reading The Hunger Games???

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