Who’s coming for Sunday dinner?

blogfamily dinner 82

A family dinner in 1982

Over three years have passed.  Maybe that’s why it seemed so special this time.  Maybe as I’ve aged, these occurrences mean so much more to me.  Or maybe I just miss days gone by.

What many people take for granted, I do not.  My husband and I live in a rural area.  It was our choice to escape from the suburbs, move back to our home state from the other side of the country,  and live a quiet life in the countryside over 15 years ago and we haven’t looked back once with regret.  

When we do venture into our nearby big city or drive through the ‘burbs, we look at each other and simultaneously announce, “I don’t miss this one bit!”

So yes, we are content with our pastoral life here near my hometown.  There’s only one aspect that tends to make me blue.  Sunday family dinners.

Folks here in our neck of the woods have lived here most, if not all, of their lives.  Their families from grandparents to parents to children to grandchildren and even great-grandchildren all live in the same area.  Regularly, they gather for family times – summer picnics, life celebrations, and Sunday after church dinners.

I must admit I’m a bit envious that my husband and I are not as blessed as they are to have all of their clan nearby.  We lived far away from our relatives for over 20 years so family celebrations when everyone could be together were limited.  Our own three grown children and their spouses all live in three different states from ours now, so family dinners with everyone in attendance have become a rarity rather than the norm.

Our extended family is not that extended.  We are small in numbers.  Mom was an only child, so no aunts, uncles, or cousins on that side of the family.  Dad was the youngest of six and the last of his family to pass away at 90.  So aunts, uncles, and almost all of the cousins from the other half of my family are also deceased.

Likewise, husband’s relatives including his parents and all of his aunts and uncles passed away years ago, and cousins are scattered in areas far away.   We both are the youngest of three siblings.  It’s been many years since we’ve seen hubby’s older brothers because one brother and his family live in the Southwest while the other brother’s home is also quite a distance away from us.  

Much the same, my oldest sister and her family reside out west and although we talk often by phone, distance prevents us from seeing each other often.  We do manage to spend some family time with my other sister and brother-in-law, who live in our area, and occasionally with their grown son, daughter-in-law, and little one.   

But Sunday after church dinners or any family dinners for that matter prove scarce and few between.  That’s why last Sunday was so very special for me.  My sis and brother-in-law, who haven’t been “home” for over three years for a visit, packed up their RV and traveled back to spend some time here.

And after church one Sunday, hubby and I hosted a family dinner for my two sisters and brothers-in-law.  We feasted on just a simple meal:  grilled steak, baked potatoes, tossed salad, and hot rolls.  There were only six of us, but when we gathered around the kitchen table, my grateful meter soared.

It reminded me of all the times we congregated as a family around my parents’ kitchen table and how much I took those times for granted.  While some folks may consider times like that a normal occurrence, I realized they are such a precious gift.   A gift to be cherished and remembered.  A gift that we may not enjoy again for some time….or ever again.

Henry Ward Beecher said, “A world without Sunday is like a man without a smile, like a summer without flowers, and like a homestead without a garden.  It is the joyous day of the whole week.”

For me, Sunday becomes even more joyous when I’m surrounded by family, so I will appreciate each opportunity even if it only comes once every three years.

©2013 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com


10 responses

  1. This one really touched my heart as I also yearn for family gatherings. I am okay for most of the year, but the holidays like Christmas and thanksgiving or even smaller summer holidays like July 4th, Memorial and Labor Days are sadder and lonelier than what I would like. I am an only child and though I have a half sibling across the country from me, we did not grow up together so there isn’t that familiar family bond. I have one child in heaven, one also lives across the country and the one living near is estranged, not by my choice. I never met my father so that part never existed. My husband’s family is also tiny. Our parents have passed. I long for the days my kids were younger and we were a family. Like you, I am a bit envious of family gatherings or when friends speak of all the time they spend with family. We also live in a rural area. I look forward to Heaven where I know I have a gigantic family and huge gatherings!!!


  2. My wife and I also live in a rural area with no family nearby, although our son is only 80 miles away. It’s so sad not being able to see those closest to us more often, but they have spread out. Still, we could never live in or near a city again.


    • I know I’m not alone in wishing my loved ones lived closer. Many people ask me if my husband and I might move to one of the cities our grown kids live in, but like you, I would rather not live in the suburbs or city. We like our quiet country life and we’re not that far from the city if we need/want to visit it.


    • You know the old saying, “you don’t miss something, until it’s gone.” Well, that’s the truth. I’m going to be sure to fill up my grateful meter while I can! It’s so good to have you back in my blogging cirle!!


  3. I am right there with you. I get so sad that my children don,t seem to miss me like I miss them. I have 3 children or I should say I had 3 children once upon a time. My 2 girls are married and have families of there own. I don,t fit nor am I wanted. I thought we were a close group and had promised each other to stay close. That didn’t happen. I just feel the cold shoulder when I am around my girls. I was and am a loving mom.it is ok if I am buying something for them.
    My whole life has been my children. I wasn,t allowed to watch my grandchildren to open there presents because my son in law didn,t want anyone there but them for christmas. I was aloud too come later with my presents in hand.
    Feeling unloved and rejected


    • I’m sorry that you’re feeling that way. It’s so hard to be a mom of grown up kids. That feeling of not being needed any more sure can turn into feeling unwanted too. Have you talked to your family about the way you feel? Maybe it’s just a misunderstanding that needs clearing up. I hope things look up for you. Thanks for taking the time to stop by, read my post, and comment.


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