Monday, December 13, 2010


I live for family dinners.

And it's not so much even the dinner as the fire up beforehand and the huddling together, stork-legged and hunched over coffee afterward.

The dinners where all the siblings fly in, drive in, walk over, and crowd around the tiny bar in the kitchen instead of spreading throughout the house as we ought.

The ones where Frankie & Deano are playing in the background on Pop's iPod and everyone is shouting and gesturing wildly and the kids are tearing through the house like I poured sugar into their veins before we left the house. The evenings where we empty multiple growlers from Sun King and line up the bottles of wine like little tin soldiers on the counters.

The ones where I laugh so hard my cheekbones hurt.
The ones I don't want to end.

Jane was in from Vermont for the weekend (sans Matt who couldn't get away from work). Tony and Kelly drove down from the Northside. Vinny and Jackie rolled in. Mimi and Aunt B drove over from Ohio. The kids condescended to wear tights and ties and button downs and sweater vests. Mom made reservations. Pops put out crackers and cheese and started opening bottles. The house smelled like Christmas. And, as I unfocused my eyes and let the bokeh on the tree take effect, I could feel it all roll over me in waves: The smell of the coffee brewing, the soft warmth of the wine as it slid down, the way everyone's laughter all melted together. It was my childhood and my adulthood all rolled into one. It was home.

And all through the fire up, and full on Italian dinner out, and subsequent coffee and presents Saturday I soaked it up.

And all through mass Sunday morning, the smell of incense and Latin murmur of the congregation as sharp a reminder of childhood and home as almost any other that weekend, I soaked it up. A sidelong glance down the pew revealing a perfect line of legs and laps and clasped hands.

I didn't even pull out the camera [much] this weekend. I just wanted to hold on to every minute that everyone was together, in one place, for those few days.

We did manage to take some phenomenal group shots Saturday somewhere between the wine and dinner...which I still need to snag from Mom's camera. We pulled out the tripod and set the timer and have the pre-requisite half-shots and nearly-ready-shots and eyes-closed-shots. And the mishaps are glorious. And perhaps better than the finished product because it catches so many of us in our classic poses. 

[practice shot - take five - several of us are behind the camera on this one...

It's weekends like these, the ones that are too few and far between, that sustain me when we're all apart.

It's weekends like these that make up for infrequent phone calls and letters and visits.

It's weekends like these that remind me how lucky I am.

Seriously. How awesome is this?

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