Monday, March 6, 2017

Welcome to Sunday Dinner



"Jared, it's your turn."

"Grandma, it's your turn."

"I'll go 2 and sliiiide," I hear my husband say.

"And take another turn," adds my son, Jack.

My two boys, my husband, and my mom are gathered around the coffee table in the family room, enjoying a lively game of Sorry before dinner. The smell of meatloaf and vegetables roasting in the oven envelops us in a warm cloak of comfort. Or perhaps the comfort comes simply from us all being together.

Sitting at the kitchen table, I listen to the click-click-click of the game pieces being manipulated around the game board and the laughter and conversation of the three generations just steps away.

Beeeep.

Dinner is ready!  The day's been cold, so I welcome the blast of heat as I open the oven door to take out the meatloaf. Play continues in the adjoining room.

"Did you know it's a proven strategy to go after red?" 

My mom has gotten a Sorry card and that's my teenage son, Jared, trying to convince her to take out one of his brother's pieces.

"No, not the yellow guy!" my husband Dan calls out. Evidently, Grandma didn't buy the red guy strategy but didn't go after Jared's blue piece either, choosing instead to send one of Dan's pieces back to start. I smile, knowing I probably would have done the same thing.

"Dan, are you going to cut the meatloaf?" I ask. He's the meatloaf master of the house. I have this thing about raw meat, so I've never made one myself.

"Yeah, I'll cut it," he answers, getting up and heading to the kitchen. "We're in the middle of an intense game of Sorry," he tells me once he's standing right in front of me.

"I know, I know. Sorry to interrupt."

"Sorry!" we say simultaneously and both laugh.

With dinner served, we all sit down to the table. We are quiet for a few minutes as we busy ourselves with stuffing our faces, but gradually conversation resumes as we tell each other stories about our day or discuss the latest news and weather reports. Jared's alarm goes off in the middle of dinner; he had set it to remind himself to check to see if our older dog had finished eating before letting out our younger dog, who we had discovered was stealing her food. This reminds both Dan and me to thank Jared for setting his alarm to go off at 5:30 a.m. on the only day we get to sleep in. We might not have minded so much if Jared had actually been home at the time and not sleeping over at his friend's house down the street.

After we have all finished, the boys and my mom return to their game while I clean up and prepare a container of leftovers to be sent home with Mom.

"You sound like Mom when she's playing," I overhear Jack comment.

"She is the upgraded version," Dan replies, referring to an earlier comment that "Grandma is like an upgraded Mom." I had tried to convince them at dinner that, since I was the newer version, I would be the upgraded model. They weren't buying it. To be honest, neither was I.

Over the clanking of the dishes I put into the dishwasher, I listen to the ebb and flow of their game playing. Raucous laughter and gentle ribbing soon gives way to out-and-out fighting between the two brothers, as it inevitably does. Gradually it quiets down and their conversation is punctuated with occasional bubbles of laughter rising up. To be sure, these are simple moments, but they are moments worth living, moments worth remembering.

Soon it will be time to take Mom home, thus ending another perfect Sunday night dinner. 


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