I grew up in a rather traditional family that had rather traditional Sunday dinners. We ate together as a family every night of the week – usually nothing fancy, but it was always homemade by my mom…and she was a great cook (and still is). Our tradition was to attend church on Saturday night (yes, Saturday night mass…such heathens!), and we’d come home and have something simple. Sometimes my mom would make homemade pizza and other times we’d pick up a pizza on the way home. I guess Saturdays were kind of a break for my mom. And this was the only time we ever ate dinner away from the kitchen table. It was such a treat to eat in front of the TV with our plates on our laps…

Sundays were special. My mom would make a bigger meal. Again, it was usually nothing fancy – chicken, spaghetti and meatballs (we ate lots and lots of spaghetti!), pot roast, turkey, etc. We dressed casually and ate at the kitchen table with our regular, everyday plates and silverware. I think it was more of the routine of this meal that made it so special, because in reality, it wasn’t that different from our Monday through Friday dinners. We’d sit together and eat and laugh.

It was always the four of us until my sister left for college. And then there were three. On occasion, my parents would invite my grandparents to join us. I really liked these times because inevitably one of my grandparents would say something silly (usually my grandpa) and we would all laugh.

I went away to college a few years after my sister and I can only imagine how quiet that house must have been for my mom and dad. I wonder if they missed those Sunday dinners…or if they basked in the glory of having the house to themselves – I believe it was a combination of both.

Since getting married almost three years ago, and marrying someone with a child, I have tried my best to carry on the Sunday dinner traditions with my own family. Life is very different when you not only cook for yourself and your spouse, but when a child is involved. It’s challenging and frustrating. Certain foods are off limits – no “regular” cheese, only melted cheese; no cooked carrots, only raw carrots; spaghetti is good only with butter and Parmesan cheese (melted), etc.

This post was originally written in my head on Sunday night as I sat alone at the kitchen table…eating Sunday dinner by myself. Patrick and Duncan were playing football with two neighbor kids in our front yard. Dinner was ready at 6:15 PM, and despite my telling them as they walked out the door at 6 PM, they forgot to come inside. I wavered about whether or not I should call them to dinner, but I ended up not doing that. I was upset and angry and my feelings were hurt. I ate by myself. They came inside at 8 PM.

Sometimes I feel like life hasn’t changed all that much since I came into the picture. When I met Patrick, Duncan was only 4 years old and the two of them were like these two little bachelors. They did everything together – dinner, movies, played games, etc. They let me into their lives little by little, but now, seven years later, it sometimes feels like I’m living with those same two bachelors. Things aren’t always blended well in this blended family. Sometimes it feels like there are two separate families living under one roof – 1) Patrick and Duncan and 2) me.