Musings of an Italian-American Catholic wife, mother, and writer

Musings of an Italian-American Catholic wife, mother, and writer

Friday, September 13, 2013

Creating Memories with the Sunday Dinner


When the boys were young, my Italian mother had an idea. She wanted to create memories for my boys, her grandsons, of having Sunday dinners with their Nonna and Nonno. Since I have so many fond memories of dinners around my Nonna's table in Italy, and since we were over at my parents' house at least once a week anyway, I thought a more formal tradition was a wonderful idea.

My mother, however, is a modern nonna. Unlike my Nonna who stayed home all day, my Mother is busy: she teaches Italian, she travels, she plays Bunco, and she is very involved in the church. So she suggested a more modern twist of alternating Sunday dinners between their house and ours.

Honestly, I wasn't sure how I felt about having to plan a dinner every other Sunday, or even of having every Sunday tied up. And then, I know me. I can't do things simply; I have to go all out. That would mean planned menus, last minute shopping, pretty table settings, dessert, espresso... all this was going through my head as I mentally sighed and agreed.

Well, years of Sundays have gone by, and my Mom was right. It has worked out. Of course, there are times due to either of our schedules that we skip a weekend, and sometimes I cheat and order subway sandwiches and call it a "picnic", and sometimes my mother will do two Sundays in a row because, well, she's the Nonna. But for the most part, we have Sunday dinners together.

And I am so grateful because there are so many things that happen during our Sundays meals that wouldn't have happened otherwise: an impromptu dance with my oldest son and his Nonna; Nonno's funny jokes of when he was a boy; Nonna telling Nonno what he can and can't eat because of his cholesterol, and then Nonno sneaking a bite when he thinks no one is looking; Nonno and Nonna laughing at my husband and me when our middle son (who attends Catholic school) confesses that he failed his religion test.

Then there was one Sunday when we were talking about sin. My oldest son declared (and he was perfectly serious) that he never saw Nonna sin. Ever. After the laughter died down someone asked about Nonno. My middle son piped up that he once heard Nonno say (insert whisper) the "d" word when he dropped something. We still laugh about this.

All these blessings from a simple combination of Sunday evenings, family, and food ... and a Nonna who was determined to create some lasting memories for her grandsons.


 

15 comments:

Holly said...

I think Nonna is a wise woman. I think family dinners are important anyway, and to do it with Nonna and Nonno is terrific. Not only is that bond strengthened, but your boys are going to have wonderful memories.

My sister's kids call my Mom, Nonna too!

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

It really is the simple things that matter...

Karen said...

That's a wonderful family tradition. I could hear myself sigh along with you (sheesh!) at the thought of having to do something every week, but the benefits must be incredible.

Kathryn said...

I hope to have Sunday dinners like these one day when my kids are grown and they come over with their kids, it would be heaven on earth!

Anonymous said...

This is NONNA, the saintly grandmother that never sins (according to her grandchildren!!!!). As an Italian grandmother I know that the happiest moment of my life is when I can share a meal with my children and their families.....
When we get together there is never a dull moment(I have seven grandchildren and the oldest is only 13!). The chatter, the little fights, the front door slamming open and shut every few minutes, the television blaring with Disney cartoons or sports events...my poor house.... But, as I step over the toys scattered all over the floor, as I try to sing along the strange music played on my piano by one of the young ones, as I cook a different type of pasta especially for the little ones (Pesto sauce is not quite as good as Chef Boyardee) I never cease to thank God for blessing me with such a wonderful family...till everyone leaves...and then I collapse exhausted on the sofa.
Nonna Massimilla

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

First of all, I love that Nonna commented! That is SO sweet!

That's a great tradition. While it sounds like a lot of work, I bet it's 100% worth it.

onthegomom said...

What a wonderful tradition. One your boys will treasure and value when they are grown.

Lisa said...

Oh, Nonna! We got to meet you! Bia, this is truly a wonderful tradition! It really is the sacrificing mamas that make possible the slamming doors and the little family jokes ~ that make for staying power in the family. And the good food doesn't hurt either!

Maria said...

We have Sunday dinners at my mom's house every Sunday (except during lent because my mom hates cooking a meal that doesn't include meat). She NEVER comes to our house on Sunday because she and my dad don't want to go anywhere. She says she likes her house the best. That's actually fine with us! She's a great cook and I get a day off from cooking. She won't even allow anyone to help with clean up because she says no one knows how she likes it done. It's a nice tradition though. I hope to have my children and grandchildren over every Sunday someday. That's why my kids can never move away! I'll be thinking of you next Sunday.

Kellan said...

This is a wonderful tradition - WONDERFUL! Your children will never forget these Sunday dinners - what a loving gift!

Have a good day Bia - off to get rid of some shoes (*sign*). Kellan

Kari & Kijsa said...

Shhhh...today is the SURPRISE BLOGGY BIRTHDAY PARTY for Kari's 40th birthday...hop on over for a little cake, diet coke, and birthday cheer!!!

blessings,
kijsa

GrandmaK said...

I wanted to write something profound about being a grandma and my hopes and aspirations for my grandchildren. The truth is I want them to remember how much I love them. It's as simple as that! If it means sharing meals or a "Vera Bradley weekend," (see 10/28/2007)so be it. These little ones, just like their moms and dads, are the "precious stones" in the Family Crown. God Bless you all!!! Your mother has it right and because of that you will have it "right' when you are a Grandmother!
Cathy

Kari & Kijsa said...

What a wonderful family tradition...just wanted to stop by and say thank you...thank you...thank you for all of the sweet birthday wishes!

Hope your day is as wonderful as you made mine.

smiles, kari (& kijsa)

Nadine said...

What a wonderful tradition!

Do Not Be Anxious said...

This is much more than just creating traditions and memories, it's about creating good families and Christians. (Read my recent post reviewing the book: How The West Really Lost God.)