Thursday, 23 February 2012

Sunday Dinner

Theres a tradition in my family that started when I met my wife. Its nothing fancy or difficult but just something that has happened every Sunday for years. My In-laws and myself along with my wife and her brother would have Sunday dinner togther. Over the years my Brother-in-law would bring his girlfriends to this meal and eventually his wife. Other parts of the family would pop by every now and then but at the root of it all was us.

During the summer months we would progress to a BBQ outside and sit in the sun drinking cold beers enjoying each others company. With time my kids appeared and we would watch them run around the garden. During the winter it was roast potatos and meat huddled in the front room telling stories about how our weeks had been, the good and the bad. It was something too look forward to.

If anyone wanted us they knew where to find us, an open door policy operated, if you wanted to come you could and if there wasnt enough chairs then you ate it on your lap on the settee. I dont know how she did it but she always made sure that there was enough. My mother in law was brilliant at it.

This has carried on now into my new home. It wasnt something I intended to do if Im honest but after cooking everyone Christmas dinner two months ago, which I enjoyed more than I thought I would, I guess its my turn now to carry it on for years to come. Every Sunday since then its been all round mine. I start cooking the meat then its all over to the fields to work up an appetite which allows me to share precious moments with my kids and also allows me to hopefully make memories for them as well. 

This weekend the world and his wifes cousin decided to descend on my humble abode. My daughter invited two of her friends, without telling me, my sister arrived with my nephews and their mate as well. They are good kids, polite, pleasant and fun to be around. There was a dynamic change this weekend though, as I sat in my chair at the top of the table I watched them as they tried to be comfortable around each other. The boys awkward and embarrassed, the girls all giggly and nervous as it was clear that there was perhaps the first flutterings of feelings coming through.

I was never a great one with the girls as a kid, I could make friends with them easily no problem at all but I would have needed to be hit in the face with a shovel to pick up on any 'signals' and I guess I missed a few oppoutunitys with it. I did okay as I got older, although Im convinced that had more to do with dutch courage than any sudden change in my social skills.

I watched the looks the girls gave each other, a look only the female of the species would undertsand that 'I like him' that my duaghter is so good at picking up on. I watched as my nephew not quite old enough to understand what was going on (his mother hopes anyway, as my daughter is a few years older as are her mates) but embarrassed all the same. His friend turning red everytime one of them laughed or said something to him and us, the grown ups, well that would exclude my brother in law and I, making it worse by making kissing noises at them.

I didnt always want to go for dinner to my In-laws truth be told. There were numerous times I could have done without it, but sitting there Sunday I realised why they put so much emphasis on it. Your friends will come and go but the one constant you have in life is your family. My family dynamic has changed massively over the years and it will continue to change further as my kids grow up. Friends for dinner will be replaced by partners, the laughter of my youngest, that high pitched giggle they all seem to have, will hopefully be replaced by grandkids.

The one thing that I hope to create though is a sense of belonging. That no matter what your week has been like, no matter who youve argued with within the family, that come Sunday there is a place waiting for you at my table for dinner. The same way my In-laws did for me for all those years.

A little naive perhaps but something I will cling onto dearly until my last breath or Im not able to do the dinners anymore. Family to me means everything, and Im proud of mine.


  1. I know that I miss my own gathering of family, I remember years ago it was an open house policy at my mums house friends would come over of mine and my mum would never say a thing bad... She would always find a way to put together a dinner for who ever turned up.. She would call my friends her adopted sons :) As time grew by I moved out, and my mum was diagnosed with MS and as I took hold of her body and slowly started to ravage my mum with pain all those feelings of belonging together as a family slowly dissolved.

    I had my own life and responsibilities as well as trying to help out as much as I could when I could.. But getting back to where you started, families and getting together of a sunday.. Its something special, for all those that may read this and not understand.. You only have one family one mum, one dad and if you can get that precious time together when you can of a sunday or anyday its special. Im lucky now its like I have been adopted into another family well not adopted but seeing someone who has a large family.

    I have to say Anthony people may never understand about writing something so simple or being open about something so simple.. and just talking about a family in general, each of our families are our own. But if one person can be open and talk about something perhaps the domino effect on slowly more people and how they feel about things in general.. and being able to talk about the simplest of things we can all learn to be more open.. Just take it as a compliment.


  2. Beautiful. Popped in to say hi and I love the truth of this- your friends will come and go, but family always stays the same.

  3. When I was a kid in the 70s Sundays always revolved around family dinners and getting together and it did create some wonderful memories for me. I really enjoyed this snapshot of how you generally spend your Sundays and what makes it so special for you.