Maybe its because I am back at the house of my youth, now with my daughter in tow. Or maybe because “they say” home is where the heart is. If that is true, than my heart is completely at home Thursday nights .
It’s walking in, and feeling “off”, and leaving, and feeling completely whole. It’s paper napkins, and seashell plates, and interrupted conversations. It’s toddler prayers, inappropriate comments, and belly laughter too.
Its conversations while Samantha is napping, while we’re prepping dinner and cooking what we can. Were sharing stories, and telling tales. Samantha comes back up in the midst of conversation, and we give one another “that look”. It’s the knowing, that we’re raising one- just like “us”, too. Gram, Ma’am, and Sam, were a dynamic trio, as rare as they come.
And on Thursday night when we gather, we work and we rush to get food on the table. Its Samantha screaming each of their names, one after the other as they walk through the door. It’s Papa, and Uncle E, and Daddy, the main characters to her life story. They enter in and usher in with them days of their own, and little do they realize, that this little girl’s day is now complete with them all home. Mama and me, we glance towards each other again, and share that mutual understanding, silently sharing how happy our hearts are for our favorite guys as well.
It’s the time of the week that’s become a tradition, a rewarding ritual. An essential part of our lives, the bread and the butter. I pause for a moment and slowly start to take it all in, when no one else is looking. I look at each one of them, the faces, the people, who know my past so intricately and my hopes for the future.
We all pause to enjoy one another. The show Samantha is creating in the corner. The funny line he just quoted, and the story of the day that has us all in hysterics. They, these people, my family, and tribe, are the lifeblood to my living, one of my favorite reasons to be alive.
Its a lifetime of knowing, of understanding one another, which prepares us for weirdly sensing the kind of storms, were all under. Its the victories too, and we celebrate them with grander, as families are supposed to do. Togetherness reminds us that we’re a unit, closely, and intimately connected to one another. We were meant to lift, carry and dance for one another. They infuse me with hope, meaning, and character. They challenge me with wisdom, experience, and an array of outlooks. We celebrate each other home each and every Thursday night, and they, these people, are a source of of my heart’s greatest delights.
When we gather it’s not usually formal. Most of the times, it’s a set table that we sit around. Mama has that skill, that love of entertaining, that pulls together a party in the shortest of time. But, once in awhile, if it’s been a challenging week, we remind one another, the true treat is seeing each other to meet.
We gather because we want too, adults we now are. With lives and agendas, and places of our own. We see in each other, a reason to live, to work hard, and to take the world by storm. We see the joys, and the hope, and the happiness we bring one another. We watch one win a battle that life brings, and we commend, celebrate, and cheer one another on.
We gather together, because we are glued, forever stuck to each other. We shoulder each other’s sorrow, and become the strength, the stronghold, and shelter in the storm. We gather not because we must, but because we desire to be close and kindred, when were connected we know how much better life is. Its knowing I can close my eyes for a second or two, sip my wine, while someone else is on duty too. It’s leaving that night looking forward to the next, because ultimately I see how together were an outlet, the main source of power to our own individual deep-seated desires.
Its the dream that women have all over, for their children to grow, blossom, flourish and to sweetly and swiftly fly the nest. It’s the hope of every mama that when they’re grown and older, the will still choose one another. It’s the fruition of that dream, that’s unfolding each Thursday night.
Yet, it’s not always been easy or uncomplicated to gather, in fact, at times it’s been painful, messy, and downright awkward with one another. In that sense, it feels like so much of life, the up’s and the down’s and the choosing to still fight. But, it’s the act of choosing one another, still, choosing one another that matters.
We gather with gusto, hungry for fabulous food, and the friendship of family. Our colossal appetites are satiated with carbs, main courses, and chaotic conversation too. It’s surprisingly calming this chaos I enjoy, the elbow bumping, reaching, and passing of the food. It’s centering, comforting, and soothing to my soul. We eat through dinner so much quicker than it was prepared, and linger over conversations while Samantha searches out treasures and trinkets that abound. The men request dessert and scarf it down, while mom and I wonder how in the heavens it will fit once again. The dishes are cleared, and start to be washed, while the boys and Sam wander in a dinner and dessert daze.
It’s comical how much we try to fit into such a short night. A toddler-sized-tantrum informs us that its time, and dictates that the evening is coming to a close one more time. We pack up leftovers, exchanging hugs, and goodbyes; and Samantha and I run to the garage for two Perrier’s for the road. It’s the commotion of hugs, kisses, and loud I-Love-You’s screamed across the room. And the promise of next Thursday that makes the goodbyes light and carefree. It’s Samantha’s tenth request for one more hug from Uncle E.
My mom and dad stand in the street and wave goodbye. It’s been the best Thursday, and to all we say “good night”. There are a hundred and one reasons why we gather each week. And for each and every one of them, I am so grateful I can hardly speak.
It’s asking that question of “why” we gather, that prompts me to ponder the need we all share for community and connection. It’s the “why” behind the “when and the where”. It’s a calling, our hearts loud cry to strengthen, support, and reinforce each other. We are not meant for solo-journeys. Were marathon runners, you and I, in need of a tribe, to run with us, and stand side-by-side.
So, wherever you find yourself this week, near or far from family so to speak, may you find it within your heart that’s wired to be united, to schedule a date, a dinner, or a drink. Spend time with family or friends, and make the choice to always stay connected.