I love how our family meets to share a meal and laughs. It keeps us close, even when we sometimes don’t want to be. We discuss controversial topics that are in the news, where we rarely all agree, or about what is going on in our lives that we’re wiling to share. Even if we do share the same idea of how to fix a problem, be it Uber regulations or J’s bitchy customers at her part-time job, there are many devil advocate perspectives thrown in just for shits and giggles.
My mom’s legacy of these family dinners has my dad cooking great dishes with my brother going over to help and N’s LG also helps make a dish if he’s off work on time. I remember my dad reminiscing how my mom said we should still have the family dinners even when she was sick with Cancer. She said “They are tired after a long week. We cook and they will come. ” She wanted to feed us after a long week and to keep the family close. Always thinking of family. Always keeping us together. We’ve been doing this for my whole life, but I’m writing about it today to remember that feeling I had last week.
After our meal we sit around long after the last person has finished so we can talk more and as of late have dessert. Ice cream treats seems to be the choice d’jour including ice cream logs. Well, as people picked ice cream sandwiches, drum sticks, popcycles, my dad shouts out to bring the ice cream log! My brother A said something something “it tastes like fridge”. LMAO!! Something about that cracked me up. “tastes like fridge”. WooooOOooo…too funny. So funny that I started tearing up. I was trying to stifle the laugh, but instead left the table to bring my dishes to the sink and enjoy the belly laugh.
As I was standing in the kitchen laughing my tears were streaming down my cheeks. I’m enjoying the rare feeling of that level of laughter and I think of my mom. I feel her love of family and how it is still with us even though she is physically not. I feel the closeness of our family and it is amazing and how I truly appreciate them all. And the tears of laughter are turning into tears for my mom. Tears that have been in my heart since I found out that the Cancer had come back. I miss her dearly everyday. I am sobbing, but now trying to mask it as laughter. I get tissue to wipe my face and try and bottle it back up.
I will never tell my family that I am thankful for them in my life to their face. Instead I made Leen Goh, the Chinese dessert that is specially made during Chinese New Year, on the weekend to give to them. We’re close, but not in the hug-you-love-you type of way. We’re more of a make you food, give you a hard time and tease you mercilessly, and help you with life decisions when you want to talk big choices (cars, house, work, etc.) when you share it at the table.
I used to think it was my parents that kept us together with these family dinners, and for the most part they are. But, I remember a few years ago when mom and dad went on an extended vacation and we still would meet for family dinners. We didn’t cook, but would choose different restaurants each time. From The Cafeteria, not the name of the restaurant, but known as such since it’s been our default place for dim sum, family celebrations, etc., to Afghan food. We voted through multiple emails throughout the week. Even though some nights were a bit of a shit show with us following each other in our cars, poo-pooing the suggested place, some people not coming if they didn’t like the resulting place, etc., the majority still met and we made memories that I still look fondly back on.
I’m thankful my mom and dad have paved the way of how a family should be, that we make the effort to stay close and if you are reading this know that “I love you”.