Family Dinner

I’m in Seattle, where we are visiting our newly married kids. 

My daughter-in-law’s father occupies the same place in his family as I do in mine: he is the youngest of seven children.  His siblings have an unusual  way of staying connected: Friday nights are “family dinner.”

They meet at a food court in a mall, push tables together, and enjoy a meal together.  Each person gets a plate of food, and the visiting begins.  They have been doing this for decades, the group expanding and contracting with children (and snowbirds) added or absent. 

We arrived in time to join the family dinner on Friday.  Now I’ve been to a few food courts in malls and presupposed the typical choices – Cinnabon, A & W, Orange Julius, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, some noodle place, and McDonalds. 

Hah!

Double Hah!

This is Seattle my friend and this food mall reflected the incredible richness of city cuisine.  Korean, Japanese, Russian, Italian, Thai, Indian, Mexican, American BBQ, sushi — one could debate with oneself for hours.  My husband ended up a large bowl of Korean noodles, and I chose a cabbage roll from the a Russian place called Pierosky (?).  Not one hamburger could be seen!

It was better than an airport for people watching.  Our small community at home is pretty “white bread”; we have to travel to mingle with so many different nationalities. 

It was great getting to know the extended family.  I loved seeing my son so comfortably integrated into this group of people.

Whenever I meet grown friends from large families I usually quiz them on how they stay in touch with their siblings.  The challenge seems more difficult when both parents have passed.  There are pros and cons to a formalized system of newsletters.  One person organizes it and heckles the others into participating. 

Fits and starts would best describe my own method of phone calls and emails.  I reckon it a good season if I’ve touched base with each of my brothers and sisters.  Most of them are better than me at picking up the phone.   Thank God for sisters-in-law!! And we have a Lone Ranger who rarely initiates communication of any kind. 

Any ideas out there?  How often do you connect with your siblings?

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6 thoughts on “Family Dinner

  1. Sounds like your DIL’s family has strong ties and that the *public family dinner* was successful.  I love the way they seem to *take over* the food court.  How many were present?
    Your questions are good and I expect the answers to be as varied as the number of commenters.  Plus my answer would be different depending on the stage in my life.
    I have to give much of the credit to my parents right now who make it easier for us to stay in touch by hosting an annual family reunion.  It will be interesting to see how things pan out when one or both are gone.
    Family communication is really interesting.  The dynamics are almost as intriguing as all that birth order business.  Giggle.
    Dana in GA

  2. My parents live 1/2 hour away and we see them at least once a week. My youngest sister is 2 1/2 hours away – and I usually see her once every two months. We probalby talk once in between on the phone. She’s the least chattiest of us four sisters. Her family is moving to St. Louis in the spring so her husband can attend Covenant Theological Presbyterian Seminary, so I imagine our phone calls will get more frequent since we won’t be able to meet in person for a long time. My sister in Boise and I have an every other Friday morning phone call, during which we usually talk for at least an hour and a half. And my other sister in Silverdale, WA uses Yahoo Messenger for her work, so I’ll get on and chat with her once a week or so. It’s hard having everyone so spread out – and when all four of us girls are together it’s never-ending talking and laughing.
    Carrie

  3. Hi Carol,I had to take time to respond since my dh and I had this conversation this morning!  I talk to my mom (she calls me) every Saturday. She calls me usually and sometimes more frequently than once a week. My unmarried, and only, sister and I talk several times a week. Before I started to work, we usually talked everyday, plus e-mail. We go to the beach together too. We really consider each other best friends. I love the food-court-weekly-reunion idea. What fun!  I try to keep up with my four. All but one lives in the area. Keeping in touch is difficult with our busy lives. We try to have Sunday lunch here about once a month and every holiday. While at the ACSI conference this past week, Josh McDowell spoke. His topic was relationships.  Good ones make all the difference in the world!Janie

  4. I love that “food court weekly dinner” idea! My family and my husband’s family are spread out all over the state of California — with one sister in Alaska. My husband’s family came together for my in-laws’ 50th wedding anniversary, but my parents divorced about ten years ago and my sisters and I see each other once or twice a year with one parent or the other. I pray that when my sons marry they won’t be too far away…and that their wives will like me as much as I like my mom-in-law. 🙂

  5. I just love the food court idea and may adopt it for my own family.  I live in a major Metro area and our food courts don’t sound nearly as international as that!  Very cool.  My sisters and I stay in touch via phone and email.  One lives about 10 mins- so we see each other regularly (though not often).  My FIL hosts a yearly “brother’s get together”.  The local family would take turns coming over for visits while the uncles were in town. I think you were eating Halupki (it had meat in it?). At least, you have described what I was serving this weekend at our Ethnic Bazaar.   At our parish, Piroshki is yeast dough filled with meat and onions (its very dry IMHO).  Of course, these names change depending on geographical area, from what I’ve been told.

Comments are cinnamon on my oatmeal!

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