The Dining Room Table

The prompt words I saw today moved me to write about wonderful memories around the dinner  table  at my grandparent’s house. The emotions well up in my heart and mind when I think about all the contributions they made to who I am today.  I am so grateful for their not abandoning us when their son, my bio-dad, wanted nothing to do with us. My grandmother was known to have said to my mom, “Just because you divorced my schmuck of a son, it doesn’t mean you divorced us.” I thank G-d for my grandparents influence on my life.

I would spend the long drive to their house thinking about how wonderful, yet different their life was from mine. They were a traditional Orthodox Jewish family who lived their beliefs. I never knew exactly what we were at my house. After my parents divorced, we no longer went to synagogue. When stepdad number one came along we celebrated both Hanukkah and Christmas. Somewhere between stepdad number three and four, we ceased celebrating Hanukkah any longer. I was too young to understand the why and how come things changed. There really wasn’t any religion in our house. At twelve, I asked my mom if I could go to some Jewish youth group meetings. She obliged, but it was too late to be one of the group.

I always had a terrific time being with my grandparents. I knew I was loved and I knew they wouldn’t allow my cruel older brother to harass me while I was there. I preferred spending time with my grandparents on regular days more than holidays because there was less stress and less formality. I remember once when my grandmother had made borscht which was supposed to be served hot. Everyone was not at the table on time, and she made a joke about it turning into a cold vichyssoise. The adults at the table cracked up. We kids had no idea if they were laughing about the soup being cold  or the fact that my grandmother who never cracked jokes had said something very funny.

I was able to respectfully ask my grandma questions about how her house ran. We had many conversations about Judaism. Grandma was always understanding  and never made me feel like I was asking a stupid question. I was curious about how everything matching had a specific time to be used. I was in awe of their having two sets of everyday dishes, two sets of formal dishes, and two sets of Passover dishes. We did not keep Kosher at home. The milchig and fleishig dishes, pots, pans, utensils, and silverware sets were different to make sure of maintaining a Kosher kitchen. You can read more here  if you’d like to.

At my grandparent’s house, we would sit around the beautifully set table in the formal dining for dinners. Breakfast and lunch were eaten in the informal dining room. At dinner always had flowers on the table. I actually thought that was a Jewish thing, because I had never seen anyone put fresh flowers on the table for dinner. Imagine my surprise when in home economics we learned all about table setting and flower arrangements. I remember being surprised that people other than my grandparents put flowers on their table regularly and not just for birthdays.

When my grandkids came here (pre Covid) we always ate at the dining room table. I didn’t and won’t allow them to eat in front of the TV. The dining room table is a symbol of family time to me. I have wonderful memories of sharing meals with my grandparents and then my aunt, uncle, and cousin. Of course, we never took pictures of eating at the table. I am grateful for having pictures of amazing Passover meals as an adult. I am grateful for sharing everyday meals and holiday meals at my table with family and friends.

Three Things Challenge – 10/4/21

Thank you Di for the fun prompt. Our three words for today are:

Even though I knew my salary would shrink
I had few doubts that I should stay working longer
There are many ways to prosper
I wanted more than simply monetary achievement
I wanted to succeed with enjoying
My life, my family, and my personal growth
It’s only been a few years
I am enjoying the fruits of my labor
I made the right decision

Three Things Challenge

Di at  Pensivity101 gives us three words daily to write a blog post about. 
Today the three words are:   COMPANY   FLUSH     STAMINA

Today we celebrated both my both my spouse’s and my daughter’s birthday. I was unsure if I was going to have to flush my plans down the proverbial toilet because I was not feeling well. I went to the doctor on Friday, and she confirmed that I have costochondritis again. I’ve had it before. Unfortunately, it seems to go along with a fibro flare for me.

I talked to my doctor about my reaction to the Covid booster I had earlier in the month. The first shot gave me nothing more than a sore arm. With the second, I had no reaction at all. The third hit me hard. It is the gift that keeps on giving. I asked my doc if it is typical for the vaccine to activate all my other medical issues. She confirmed what I figured. She said that it is not a typical reaction for most, but it is for me. Oh goodie.

Now the swollen glands have settled as an inflammation in my chest. At least I know it is not a heart attack. The doc confirmed that my lungs are great, my heart is strong, and my body is inflamed. No surprise.

I was able to make my gifts late one night when I wasn’t in too much pain. I wasn’t sure I had the stamina to make the long drive to see my daughter and grandkids. I thought about taking a Claritin and napping on the drive out there. That didn’t seem to fair to my spouse though.

We made it in just over two hours. My daughter was ready for company. She seemed unstressed which made me happy. Z1 and Z3 were home. It was great to see them. Z2 was at church with a friend. My daughter texted her to see if she would be home soon. Happily, we were able to see her also. It was great to visit with everyone.

Their crazy dog begged to come in. He is an overgrown, untrained, golden. We give him lots of attention as we are dog lovers to the bone. (Pun intended) He must be on a leash in the house because he can be as problematic as a bull in a China shop.  He repeatedly traveled back and forth between my spouse and I. (I was  a little worried about going somewhere after the visit smelling like dog.)

One of the gifts for my daughter, was an eight-piece set of Pyrex ware. I couldn’t give her dishes without food though. Three of the bowls were filled with my baked mac N cheese. My gift for my daughter was her not having to make lunch for the kids. She is on a special diet and must make different meals for herself. The last bowl was filled with gluten free brownies. At least I could make those for her. Within minutes of arriving the kids were at the mac N cheese. My daughter, K2, was thinking of making the same dish for dinner. She thanked me repeatedly for her not having to do so.

On the way home I took my spouse to lunch. He found a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant whose entire menu was in Spanish. I will admit, we needed some assistance. The food was amazing. The prices were high for the style of the place. But the food was so good, I could see going back again.

After the long drive home Annie was waiting for us. She was not pleased that she didn’t get to go on the outing with us. She wondered why we smelled of another dog. It was time for a shower and a nap. I am grateful I pushed through and spent time with my loved ones.