We live right next door to nearly all of my relatives in my husband’s family. My mother in law lives with us in her own apartment above our garage, my brother-in-law and his wife and daughter live next door, my niece and her little family (with 3 gorgeous little ones) are across the street, and my sister-in-law and her family live just up the road and around the corner.
Before the pandemic, I loved Monday nights! My sister-in-law is amazingly creative and she loves to cook. She would always decide the menu and make the main dish and usually a dessert or two. The rest of us would bring a side, a salad, or some vegetables that coordinated with the theme of her meal. Sometimes she would even brew up a complimentary cocktail! It was such a treat to work all day and know that we would be getting together and no one person needed to cook the entire meal.
There was nothing fancy or formal, we would just gather at around 6 p.m. share our meal and catch up on what was going on for the week. Then we would either walk back across the field or the street and go home to bed.
For a little while into March, we continued this informal gathering of family, but like many things in our lives these days our Monday night dinners became a casualty of COVID. With a total of 15 people from four generations in the same space, coupled with the governor’s orders that we could only meet as groups of five or less, well we just aren’t getting together anymore.
This summer we had a few small parties to celebrate birthdays but we always held them outside and continued to socially distance. Now that the weather is changing and we are moving inside, I don’t think we’ll be doing our Monday night tradition for a while. Especially since it looks like there will be a third wave of the virus this winter.
Spending time with family in this way gives me a sense of well-being, connectedness and it is fun! I think before the pandemic I took the way we live and being together on a weekly basis for granted.
I’m not even sure we’ll be getting together as a large extended family for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays this year, which I think is sad. When this thing ends someday, I hope Monday night dinners are one of the first things we start doing again! I really miss it.