The most predictable part of my week is every Saturday, at approximately 10 a.m., when I have this phone conversation with my mom:
Mom – “Do you want to do dinner tomorrow?”
Me – “Sure.”
Mom – “Do you want to eat at your house or mine?”
Me – “I dunno. Doesn’t matter.”
Mom – “We did your house last week. How about mine this week?”
Me – “Sounds good.”
Mom- “What do you want to eat?”
Me – “Doesn’t matter.”
Mom – “I have a steak (or a roast, hoagies, tacos …) if you want to do that. I always run out of ideas.”
Me – “Sure. Whatever you want.”
After that conversation, it’s official. Dinner tomorrow. Menu determined by mom’s pantry. I’m getting a free meal for my family so I’ll take whatever she offers. Plus, she buys canned food for the dog—it’s the highlight of Nukka’s Sunday, because her parents are too stingy to upgrade from dry kibble.
This particular Sunday is at mom’s house in Upper St. Clair. The moment her front door opens, the madness begins. Like locusts, we invade her home. The dog runs up to mom and bathes her in kisses with her six-inch tongue. My daughter beelines for the loveseat, Chromebook in hand, and plops down like I would have 25 years ago. My husband goes straight to the fridge to store his carefully selected IPA for the evening. It’s something from Troegs that “pairs well with steak.” As for myself, I open every drawer in the kitchen, scavenging for pre-dinner snackage.
Once settled, my husband and stepdad engage in conversation. I frequently hear the words: engine, BTU, history and President. Once the P word is uttered, I back away to the kitchen. I’d rather talk with mom about the day’s events … like how my daughter slept until noon and how the dog could somehow fit the entire cat’s head in her mouth, whiskers included.
Then comes dinner. My daughter picks at the two steak chunks I’m insisting she eat. Then I give up for the umpteenth time and allow her to just eat the Kraft mac and cheese Mom keeps in stock for her. We talk about our best part/worst part of the day. Since dinner lands on a Sunday, my best part entails the fact that I made my husband get up for the dog so I could sleep in.
The evening concludes with Sam’s Club cookies straight from the freezer. We don’t bother thawing; that takes up too much precious time. After we’ve finished sucking mom’s house dry of everything we could scavenge for the day, we head home.
The accumulation of mundane moments add up to some of the most treasured times in my life. These little trinkets are lined up in my memories. They’re like tiny garden gnomes with all their different personalities … sporting various types of little jackets and multicolor pointy hats. I know my mom keeps Sunday dinners close to her heart, too. Ultimately, when my daughter raises her family, I hope she carries on this tradition, and we continue collecting Sunday dinner memories.