We are thrilled to welcome Susan Merrill from iMom to our blog today! As you know, we are celebrating National Family Day next week with a Twitter Party and FREE recipes for you to make with your family, and we thought this was the perfect time to include a word from Susan about family on our blog!
I have to smile inside every time I think about Family Week. It makes me smile to think of how I would explain this to my grandmother. She would look surprised and, in all honesty, probably confused too. I chuckle because my grandmother would not understand why there is a family week. Both of my grandparents on my dad’s side emigrated from Italy with their families. Each of my grandparents had nine brothers and sisters; their life was family.
Every Saturday, my grandmother and her sisters would get together in her basement and cook for the upcoming week. (Yep, she had two kitchens. The one she really cooked in and the one upstairs that she simply reheated and served from.) They met on Saturdays because they were all working girls; my grandmother was a seamstress. But that didn’t stop them from the serious Italian business of serving fresh pasta, sauce, bread, pizzelles, cannolis, and every Italian delicacy you can think of each night of the week. They would cook all day Saturday and on Sunday they would start the week with a big, extended family dinner. Adults and kids alike were comforted and filled with deliciousness, and we talked and we laughed and we teased (always lots of Italian teasing)
Family week was every week.
My dad grew up with daily dinners that he looked forward to. As a result, dinner was important in my family and we ate dinner together every night. My mom didn’t make her own pasta and bread like my grandmother, but she cooked almost every day and we ate and we talked and we laughed and we teased every single week of the year.
Creating that family time during dinner has been a challenge for me. I work and my kids are busy. I have to make a conscious effort to make dinner happen. Family week is a good reminder of why I need to make it happen.
Two things have helped me make dinner a reality; not the way my grandmother or mother did, but our way. First, eMeals has made the cooking much easier on me. I don’t have to be creative or complicated. I just have to print and read. Second, I try to make sure our conversation is sweet and meaningful. I confess, we eat together less than I did growing up so I really want my family to connect when we do eat together. I use discussion questions from iMOM.com/tools to stimulate good conversation. They are free and printable.
The comfort food and conversation starters lead to something I have come to treasure: talking, laughing and, of course, teasing—lots of teasing.
I’m curious, how do you make family dinners work in your home? Any secrets or tips you’re willing to share with me?
Susan Merrill is the director of iMOM.com. Read about her advice and adventures in mommy world at susanme.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.