Thursday, April 29, 2010

We are family - hear us roar

"we are family"

[Peanut's creation from Sunday night]

My passions do extend further than my treadmill.

I'm a family girl.

I love my family. I love to cook.  I love traditions.

I am lucky blessed.

Truly.

I grew up in a Glendale, AZ home where, every week night, we ate dinner. Together. My Dad would walk in no later than 5:05pm every week day.  If 5:15 ever rolled around and Dad was a no-show . . . . panic.  Instant panic.  Hey, he was a banker with [mostly] bankers hours.  My mother was, and is (except for the time she tested a new recipe "wheat meat" - oh yummy) an exceptional cook. I guess this is what comes with the territory when your mom has published 6 cookbooks - bring on the  t e s t i n g !  People covet her roll recipe. I've spent years trying to do her pie crust justice. Her soups are a Rx for mending a broken heart & healing the soul. And I know my dad lives for her rump...um roast.

                                                  [the sweet table]

I recall vividly, as a young girl, we’d all gather to kneel in prayer and eat around that faux wood octagon table, with its horrible wicker stand {which is NOW very chic}, and wait, watching, anticipating each bowl/platter we'd soon be handed to partake of.  always feeling something important. And meaningful. Something bigger, and stronger, than our yearning for food. Something beyond my childish understanding. Something deeper than my appreciation could have ever understood or recognized at 8 or 18 years of age.

I was safe. I felt safe.  I belonged. I felt comfortable.  I was valued. And adored.


I mattered.

Fast forward to 2010 . . . me.  here.  with my family, with my child and my own home.  my own kitchen table. And after a sometimes exhausting day, with work, volleyball, running, tennis & karate lessons, working out, homework, chores and [some days] frustrated tears, we all plop down, around our table (which TODAY is sadly HUGE for the three of us) for dinner. Together.

After a few tastes of homemade goodness has reached each tummy, the mood always changes, the noise somehow fades & smiles randomly begin to appear. An unspoken happiness passes from face to face. I watch as Peanut, relaxes, and opens up. She giggles through unimportant details of her day, the funny joke her friend said at lunch [which we rarely "get"], who’s feeling were hurt today at school, which boys her dad may need to scare away slightly, in some way. The silly "then SHE said", "then I said" conversations between her friends that really never quite end in a "normal" or understandable fashion. She rattles off insignificant thoughts about everything from pencils to pandas.

But as she speaks, with such enthusiasm, candor and ease, nothing that she says feels unimportant. Or insignificant. Or silly even in the slightest. The Pita & I listen, intently, to every word we can understand. We smile. We laugh. And suddenly, it will hit me.  a familiar emotion will settle inside me. A feeling I felt my whole childhood.  A tradition kept alive. In these moments, her words, our laughter, the food...it all seems so important. Even, vital.  to us.  to our happiness.  to us being a family.

It matters. traditions matter.  Peanut matters. We matter. Families - big & small --- matter.

So now, I do what my mother did for me. I tie on my apron [which I adore], turn on the jukebox - when time allows, and cook. For my family. I invite them, without words, night after night [ok more like every second night], to leave the outside world, if for only twenty, sacred minutes, to come together, around our GINOURMOUS table, and feel safe. Welcomed. Valued. And, especially, adored.

A "Family Anniversary", was planned a few months back. While I was at a store shopping, for work ……. an employee asked why I was so rushed. I explained I was planning a "family anniversary" tonight and had to hurry home to finish the cooking. She informed me that, cooking was "degrading". While I could present a whole post just on that [the answer I gave her] - I will just say - -It is NOT degrading. Or brainless. Or pointless work. Rather, it feels like, maybe, the most important thing I get to do on a regular basis.

Trust me.

It matters.

Dinner matters. Family matters. Traditions Matter.

Traditions are like spiritual and emotional cement in the foundation of a happy home. They create fond memories, and these memories bond us together as nothing else can.

I can only hope & pray I am helping to make Peanut's childhood even 1/10th as happy as mine was.



I am so thankful.

26 comments:

Kelly Leigh said...

This made me cry. I don't know whats wrong with me maybe I am going a little crazy but I thought you should know that. I think it made me a little homesick for my family dinners. You just write about these little things in life that are really big things so perfectly. And don't get me started on that girl who said cooking was degrading! I can't think of anything more ridiculous! She obviously is a terrible cook. Going to check your mom's cookbooks out now.

Kelly Leigh said...

This made me cry. I don't know whats wrong with me maybe I am going a little crazy but I thought you should know that. I think it made me a little homesick for my family dinners. You just write about these little things in life that are really big things so perfectly. And don't get me started on that girl who said cooking was degrading! I can't think of anything more ridiculous! She obviously is a terrible cook. Going to check your mom's cookbooks out now.

Natalie said...

I. LoVE. THIS. I am going to ask to give a motivational speech somewhere and then just read this. It's perfect and what the world needs to hear. More importantly today, it is what i need to hear.

ShutUpandRun said...

I couldn't agree more. Despite crazy schedules, the four of us eat a home cooked meal together every night. It's what grounds and connects us. I wouldn't have it any other way, and I hope my kids do the same when they have families. Maybe they'll even invite me over.

Allison said...

I love this post. I too grew up in a family where dinner at the table (ours was a plain wood rectangular table with orange wood and wicker chairs....S-T-Y-L-E) together was a daily ritual. I am married to a wonderful man who grew up eating off of paper plates at hap hazard times infront of the TV. It has been a struggle, but he too enjoys theese family dinners and I hope that our daughter (and hopefully more kiddos to come) will pass this love on as she develops.


Beautiful post!!!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

This was a GREAT post!!!!

Jill said...

That was sooo moving, thank's for being so open and sharing!!! I love all those older pictures, what a perfect touch!!

TMB @ RACING WITH BABES said...

Seriously choked up right now. Such a beautiful post. I am constantly inspired by you!

Sarah said...

Amen! :-D Who would say that a chef is degrading themselves? Why is it degrading if a mom cooks? It's a wonderful service to your family.

Pam said...

Yep, I'm all teary eyed now, too. And a little jealous. I had a happy childhood, but I didn't have this. My family's schedule was hectic. My dad worked away from home often, and then worked 2nd shift for a while. Then later my parents bought a business and one of them was ALWAYS at it. And my mom couldn't cook for crap! haha We never got to do the dinner-as-a-family thing.

Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) said...

Aww...I love this post! My family eats dinner together every night and I love it. It's a time when we share things about our day, talk about what's going on tomorrow, joke around, and just enjoy each other. And, yes, I do the cooking, but I actually really enjoy doing it. Putting healthy, home cooked food on the table for my family matters and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Karine said...

You are STILL "valued and adored", Emz, even if you don't live under our roof anymore. Thanks for creating such a loving environment and example for your "peanut"

Love the group picture of friends and an older brother who wanted to be in the picture!

Teamarcia said...

Degrading? Seriously? OK I'll leave that alone. Our nightly dinners are probably our sweetest, most meaningful time together as a family. I wouldn't trade them for the world. Love the pics, thanks for sharing your memories!

Angie said...

HOW have I never sent you an apron- how has that happened? Serious though- I loved this one. It made my heart feel all warm and fuzzy.

The Eliason's said...

It's hard to post w/ sunglasses on but alas i will try...traditions...
there what family's are made up of. Even if you "start off" your family by picking up your sister at the gym and taking her golden swirl to work and then back to the gym. It's ALL matters! It matters now, it mattered then, it will matter tomorrow, and in 50 years, because family is everything. When we realize that, we'll all be in good shape, happier, more satisfied people!

Karen said...

Awesome post! Three cheers for family :)

Marlene said...

What a touching post! Thank you for sharing.

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

this was a great post! I have been trying to figure out what traditions my husband and i are creating or can start creating because I do believe they are important

Barefoot AngieB said...

I couldn't agree more:) Fantastic post!

The un-Zen Runner said...

This is an amazing post. If a family doesn't sit down and eat dinner together at the end of a busy day, when else are they supposed to spend time together? Meals are an important tradition that many have lost because of the ease of eating readily available food via the microwave, stay fresh packaging, etc, and then moving to the TV. You post points out that relationships matter, and they must be built through the positive interactions which you have described. Seems like you've found one of the secrets to happiness. :)

Shauna said...

You just started a flood of memories!!! When I saw you mom recently, she mentioned how good/funny your blog was...I love it! I loved reading this post and it made me think about how many times I joined you at the fashionable table for meals. Thanks for the memories!!!

GlenP said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

Great post! Where you a speech writer for Ronald Reagan? Lol ... Good luck on your race this weekend!

Sunny Duron said...

I love the old pictures!! The table brings back many memories! I'm sure you did great today on your run/ race. (Sam never likes me to call the Tour de Tucson a "race" ha ha - he's just glad when he's done!) Love it!!

amyraye said...

um, what happened to my comment?

totally laughed at the picture at the end. check me out- all front and center! so funny.

and i absolutely remember that table. good times.

Sarah said...

I like that picture at the end too. There's a Shauna, an Amy, a Michael...