Friday nights are Friday Night, Family Night in our family – all home, all together, nobody on sleepovers or hanging out with friends, all in comfy clothes, always pizza and a movie. Wine for adults, why yes!
I created this tradition for our family about a decade ago, cobbled together from other traditions that appealed to me. From my friend, Dobie, I learned that Friday nights are often family nights in the Jewish tradition. From author Barbara Kingsolver, I learned that she always serves her family homemade pizza and a movie on Friday nights. At that time, cascades of requests and decisions filled my own Friday evenings, pleas for hanging out with friends, sleepovers, and decisions about all, including what to make for dinner.
By Friday evening, after an overflowing work week, I am really not up for any decision of any kind.
After one particularly frenzied Friday evening of all three kids clamoring with requests for sleepovers, comings, goings, decisions, and me staring blankly at the refrigerator wondering what I would make for dinner, I decided to gift (impose) this tradition on our family.
Ever since that time, Friday nights have remained sacred. Parents and kids are all home, together. For many years I made homemade pizza with Barbara Kingsolver’s recipe (recipe here). The truth is, for the past few years with working later and sports practices for the kids, either Noé or I will often pick up a pizza on our way home. Kids take turns choosing which movie we’ll rent. Trying to find a movie that all five of us enjoy is a challenge. The boys are not keen on the musicals Wynn loves, and Wynn and I flat-out refuse some of their choices. We mostly get it, though, and we all end up watching movies we might not have selected on our own.
For most of the years since the tradition, it was just the kids and me. It often felt like I was trying to hold back the tide with the flood of invitations the kids had and my own exhaustion at the end of the week. Come to find out, not all families have Friday Night, Family Night, so invitations continued. Again and again I said, “On Friday night we’re together as a family. On Saturday night, have all the hanging out with friends you want!” Same goes for adults. Exceptions made for birthday parties—and the Prom. Somehow, it worked. Wyatt, Luke, and Wynn are now 17, 15, and 14 and our tradition continues. I’m almost scared to talk about it, for fear the spell will break.
Perhaps because we’ve been doing it for so long, or perhaps the stars have simply aligned. Perhaps it worked for the same reason my kids took naps on weekends well into junior high school—I was just so tired! I don’t know. What I do know is that on Friday evenings, we all tumble home, change into comfy clothes, I put the pizzas in the oven and open the bottle of wine, as Noé and kids pop the movie in and settle in on the couch. Often, this is the only time all week where there are no decisions, no negotiations, and no other place in the world to be.
This tradition is a gift indeed.
Traditions… With our recent celebration of El Día de los Reyes Magos (Day of the Three Kings, Epiphany) tradition of gathering around La Rosca de Reyes (Wreath of Kings), my friend, Lindy, wrote of our Writing the Land class, “I would love to discuss celebration/tradition as an important element of “love of place”; of belonging.”
I loved this sense of “love of place, of belonging” the essence of traditions, of writing the land. I look forward to our journey of place and belonging. Our class began this past Monday. Let the exploration of belonging and love of place begin…
To bless the New Year in a wonderful way, MEADOWLARK is now available on Kindle! http://www.amazon.com/Meadowlark-Dawn-Wink/dp/1932636978/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389759814&sr=8-1&keywords=Meadowlark