Friday, April 6, 2012

Sunday Family Dinner...open the wine...

Sunday dinner is a tradition in our family. Ever since the kids left home and married and had kids of their own, we've invited them all over for a weekly home-cooked meal.

My husband does the cooking -- I left the kitchen behind when my last child left for college -- and he always whips up something wonderful, like veal saltimbocca, chicken cordon bleu, or pork tenderloin carnitas.

The kids often ask what we're having, no doubt afraid that I might return to the kitchen and try to prepare my famous chicken Kiev (in which I accidentally left out the chicken.) So far, they've been lucky.

My daughter likes to eat early so she can get the kids to bed and therefore shows up at 5 p.m. My son prefers eating late and doesn't come until 6 or so. It's not a problem, because that gives me plenty of time to have a glass of wine.

When everyone is here, the grandkids play until they fight, then we serve them dinner. Since they won't eat what Tom cooks, their parents scrounge through our refrigerator in search of anything their kids might swallow -- cheese pizza (microwaved); frozen peas (still frozen); blueberry yogurt (with the blueberries removed); cheese slices (orange, not white); peanut butter sandwich (creamy, with the crusts cut off); avocado (meant for the salad); or bell pepper slices (also meant for the salad).

After the grandkids are done eating, 2-year-old Lyla hides in the pantry and helps herself to ice cream cones, sans ice cream. Three-year-old Stephanie heads for the play kitchen to make us "hot coffee" and "birthday cake." Four-year-old Luke wants to watch a video, but not the one 7-year-old Bradley wants, so we turn off the TV and they go to the guest room to jump on the bed.

Meanwhile, I have another glass of wine.

While the adults enjoy Tom's cooking, I bring up interesting topics to discuss, such as "How was your week?" or "Got any new apps?" but my grown children prefer to share stories about my latest embarrassing moments, such as how I got that big bruise on my backside (I was standing on the bathroom scale -- on one leg, of course, so I'd be lighter -- and lost my balance, grabbed the towel rack, which came loose in my hand, and ended up falling into the bathtub, bruising my tailbone.

Luckily, during their story retelling, I help myself to what's left in the wine bottle.

Once dinner is over, the grandkids return to the table for ice cream -- each one wants a different flavor. We adults try to play a game, like Rummikub or Farkle, until the grandkids try to take over and we lose track of who's winning.

Then my kids pick up their kids and head for home, leaving behind a family room that looks like a preschool after it's been ransacked.

When we're done cleaning up the mess, Tom and I collapse on the couch, put in a video we've been looking forward to seeing, and sleep through it, having survived another Sunday Family Dinner.

Can't wait until next Sunday for more "birthday cake," more jumping on the bed, more embarrassing stories, more interrupted games and lots more wine. It's a tradition.

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