Sunday mornings in my past have been generally hectic. One of our family traditions was the big family “Sunday Dinner at Mom’s.” I would start Saturday night by making my dough for homemade dinner rolls, cutting and peeling veggies and marinating or prepping meats. Sunday morning, while everyone else was doing lovely relaxing stuff like sleeping in, reading, listening to spiritual music, visiting one with another….I was in the kitchen getting dinner in the oven, crockpot…whatever…so that right after church, dinner would be ready and everyone could sit down together, enjoy a wonderful meal together, discuss what we heard at church together and revel in the ‘peace’ of the Sabbath day. Except I would generally pop up after finishing my plate, start to clear, refuse help because I genuinely took joy in my family being all together, and begin to get dessert plates out. I somehow removed myself from the family and lowered my status to servant. I didn’t see it that way. I felt that I was serving and loving those I cared for. I felt that I was making the memories for my family that I never had. I look back now and realize that I was almost always stressed out to the point that I never, ever enjoyed the Sabbath day. It was just So. Much. Work!
I have been to my children’s homes over the past year or so for their own version of family dinners and realized that they don’t have that same level of tension. I figured out why. Nobody expected ONE person to do EVERYTHING. My sons-in-law HELPED my daughters…without them asking! My son helped my daughter-in-law cook and clean up…he just did it. Like it was natural. Like it was normal. Like they WANTED to help their spouses. I remember asking Will…no, no…begging Will to please put the leaf in the table, to please get extra chairs, to please lift this heavy roasting pan. It was such a battle. “We don’t need the extra leaf..we’ll just be cozy” “We have plenty of chairs. The kids can sit at the counter” “Hold on, I’ll get that pan in a sec…just let me send this text 😏 ” Yeah, it was always a battle. Me begging for help, Will arguing or stalling. I generally just tried to do it all myself.
Sundays are different now. Of course, there are no family dinners anymore. The kids don’t really come around so much. And of course, there is no “Mom’s”…I’m living in a 30′ travel trailer. But the change isn’t just that. The change is me. I still love my family and have a desire to serve them, to cook for them, to create memories for them. The difference is that I am no longer willing to do it at the risk of my own self esteem. I won’t place myself in the “less than” role anymore. Will is different too. I think that if I asked him to get extra chairs now, he would simply ask how many. I will probably have the Sunday Dinner tradition reinstituted when we get the new house built…but it will be maybe once a month. On my terms.
This Sunday morning, today, I slept in. I threw a simple meal in the crockpot…for two. I put on some lovely spiritual music. I read for an hour. Then I blogged. I’m going to go get ready for church now where I will see some of my family members. They will go home to their Sunday Dinner. We will come home to ours. I am at peace.