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Monday, February 21, 2011


I am not a "wave the Italian flag, Italian is the greatest nationality in the world and I've watched all of the Godfather movies 100x's" kind of Italian. I don't even speak it except for a few family words (and the curse words). I am more the "family is the most important thing, I'll hug and kiss you even though I just met you, I'll talk really fast and use my hands, and I am not quiet" kind of Italian. I am also and proud of it, a "Sunday is spaghetti day" kind of Italian.

Ever since I can remember, Sundays were set aside as Family Day. My Nana and Papa lived down the street from us and going over there meant walking in the door smelling the gravy cooking, seeing my Papa on the couch reading the paper and setting aside the comics for my sisters and me, my Nana in the kitchen cooking and kids (all five of us and my three cousins) scattered in the "green" room or the basement. My Nana and Papa had the biggest, most comfortable couch and I remember either sinking in it and reading a good book or writing stories. The food that my Nana would make could feed an army. Spaghetti, meatballs, sausage, pork, beef...then the best was when she'd surprise us with fried dough or even better, we'd think it was time to go home and she'd bring out a platter of lunch meat or chicken and we'd stay for a few more hours playing or talking and laughing...there was so much laughing. Some of my favorite memories are from those Sundays.

As I got older, sometimes Sundays would be hard. I would want to spend them with friends or my boyfriend at the time. Instead of not going, my family would invite them to dinner. Not a lot of guys made it to that table. I think only three of them did and one was only a friend and another I married. My Nana used to say, "You'll get older and stop coming. Other things will be more important." I wanted to prove her wrong and I am so glad that I did. There were Sundays that I missed but I don't remember many (unless I was away at college).

Sundays are still Family Day but now they are spent at my mom and dad's house. My mom does a wonderful job of upholding the tradition. She makes enough food to feed an army (though fried dough hasn't been made in years) and she feeds more people than my Nana did. My mom and dad interact with all 11 of their grandchildren building relationships that my kids are lucky to have. I look forward to Sundays because my sisters and I get to come together with my mom and dad and catch up with each other. We talk on the phone 10 times a day but seeing each other, hugging each other and making each other laugh until our stomachs hurt is better than a phone call. I get to see my kids grow up with their cousins and I know it is a good sign when they cry that it is time to go home. There are obvious pros and cons to being such a tight-knit family. We know there is always someone to vent to or laugh with but we are probably too involved in all of our lives so when something happens to one, it happens to us all (more about that in later posts). I'm sure we are like other families and drive each other crazy sometimes and since we know all of our secrets, we also know all the buttons to push. Sometimes there is not room to allow for growth which can be frustrating. I am still the oldest sister that had to hide food because I'd want one thing that was just mine in a house full of seven (I haven't done that since I moved out. I even shared the chocolate covered strawberries). I wonder if my sisters feel that parts of themselves that they have outgrown still come up on Sundays? I am sad to say that Nico misses some Sundays because of his schedule (which means Leo does too) but luckily my dad goes to many of Nico's games so the family tie is still held strong. Nico also gets very mad when he misses a Sunday so I know that the "Family Day" concept is being instilled.

I tell my mom and dad all the time how lucky they are that all of their children and grandchildren always want to be with them (they appreciate the reminder so much) because I know a few people that have a hard time being with their families. I don't take for granted one bit that Leo loves my family and considers my sisters his sisters and enjoys my parents as much as I do. Getting to know my brother-in-laws would be a lot harder if we didn't see each other every week.

When I count blessings in my life, Sunday dinners are definitely on there and I hope that they remain a tradition for years to come (this reminds me that I have to get the recipe for the gravy).


At April 25, 2011 at 8:44 AM , Blogger Kendra Mareva said...

So is it also Italian to call it "gravy" instead of spaghetti sauce? ;)

At April 25, 2011 at 4:49 PM , Blogger AnnMarie said...

Absolutely! I've never called it sauce. Leo calls it gravy, too.


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