Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Landscape, Language, Teaching, Wildness, Beauty, Imagination

Friday Night, Family Night – Love of Place, Belonging…


Friday Night, Family Night feet

Friday Night, Family Night feet

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!

Pizza for Friday Night, Family Night

Pizza for Friday Night, Family Night

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.

Holy Molé wine - divine!

Holy Molé wine – divine!

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.

La Rosca de Reyes and Wynn

La Rosca de Reyes and Wynn

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…


Meadowlark: A Novel

Meadowlark: A Novel

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

Author: Dawn Wink

Dawn Wink is a writer and educator whose work explores language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination.

34 thoughts on “Friday Night, Family Night – Love of Place, Belonging…

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  5. Dawn, when my boys were young, we used to do Friday Night, Family Night. Special times for sure. Bless you for keeping your family a priority.

    • Carmen, Oh, so you used to do Friday Night, Family Night, too! I’m so glad to know this. And now with all those gorgeous grands. Loved the pink chinks for your granddaughter. Blessings and blessings, Dawn

  6. Hi Dawn!

    My son is too young for this to be a concern yet, but I absolutely love this idea for the future! I love that you have a designated day (no surprises), you have traditions that the family loves and you’re building cherished memories that your kids will bring to their families, once they start them. Kudos to you! 🙂

    All the best,

    • Hi Laura!

      Yes, thank goodness for at least a tiny respite from surprises in the week! 🙂 I do wonder if the kids will carry this along with their own families. Time will tell. If so, I’ll be right there cuddled up with them! Enjoy, enjoy as you develop your own tradition!


  7. You know, we more or less do the same. This brings my attention to my intentions! I never gave it a name. A “tradition” it will be….sounds good. More serotonin for us, please!!!

    • Rachel, I wondered if you might do something along these lines. Seems like something you and your family would do! 🙂 So glad we share this tradition. Serotonin! 🙂 xo

  8. I love these ideas, Dawn. I find myself craving a sort of family tradition like this, something for when the boys get a little older. When I was growing up, our Friday night tradition was always – always – to go out to dinner with a couple of family friends. The phone call would come at about 5:30, a restaurant would be decided on (it usually boiled down to 4 or 5, since that was all the restaurants in my hometown of Pinedale), and out we’d go. To this day my mom and dad maintain that tradition with their friend, who is now widowed. It’s a practice that runs so deep you can’t separate it from the rest of life. Between this and your sharing of your tradition, I am convinced that once-a-week family get-togethers can be such a significant aspect of childhood — and of adulthood. =) Thank you for sharing this.

    • Dear Kate,
      I am so grateful that I stumbled upon this tradition when the kids were still young. I loved learning of your own Friday night tradition in your family. How lovely that your mom and dad still maintain this tradition! What a blessing those roots and traditions can people for people of all ages. Thank you so much for sharing this.
      I watch my own parents with their friendships and traditions, and know my experience of this growing up, and feel that sense of stability that those roots and traditions can bring. Inspired me to keep our Friday Night, Family Night going, even during the tough years when it often felt like a lot of work and it would’ve been so much easier just submit to the kids’ requests. I am so thankful now that we kept this tradition as a integral rhythm of our family.
      Enjoy, enjoy with your own boys!
      Hugs and hugs,

  9. love, love, love

  10. Sometimes there is nothing better than being in the family ‘pod’. My girl is back home and finishing school in the Bay Area. More opportunities for her here was the reason, and even though it is, I know she struggled living so far from home. It’s interesting seeing her all grown up now…

    • Hey Brenda, I was just thinking about your girl and wondering if she was still in Santa Fe. So, she’s back home and finishing school and more opportunities. Wonderful! And all grown up…. Great to hear from you.

  11. Thank you to Kenna for “I believe traditions heal us.” We have no traditions in my family – how I wish we did. We are now spread thousands of miles apart but I think that my husband and I could begin a tradition – if we could just stick to it. I’m going to try Barbara Kingsolver’s recipe for pizza – no reason, now that I’m retired, I can’t take the time to make this from scratch. 😀 When I was teaching I knew all too well the feeling of not even knowing my own name by Friday night. LOL!

    As for Writing the Land – I can barely tear myself away from the reading and the writing. I am obsessed, driven, in love with the reading and fascinated with the writing. The responses coming from our class community are extremely interesting. I love the perspectives – the way each of us translates the readings to fit our understanding. I want to write and write and write. I’m driving myself nuts. 😀

    Hugs, Dawn and Family. Enjoy your pizza tonight. BTW – my husband just left to pick up the pizza he ordered 😀

    • Dear Lindy,
      Oh, I loved reading that your husband just left for the pizza he ordered! 🙂 You and I celebrated Friday Night, Family Night together. I look forward to hearing how Barbara Kingsolver’s recipe turns out for you. i always wanted to do all of the fun toppings that she suggested, but the kids only wanted cheese or cheese and pepperoni. 🙂 I, too, am in love with our Writing the Land class!
      Hugs to you!

  12. That is wonderful Dawn. For some years we had a tradition like this on Sundays. Just like you I was a single mom with two kids and they stayed with me every other week. Sunday night was always our ‘last night’ before they went back to their dad’s house. Over the years we got away from this, unfortunately. I’m glad you brought this back and I will follow your example, it makes sense and you are so right when you said ‘…I’m really not up for any decision of any kind’. Oh yes, so true. Friday nights, family only and pizza.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Love and hugs

    • Dear Anja,
      Oh, thank you so much for sharing this about your own Sunday nights and rhythm with your kids. I am grateful to know that you and I share these life experiences. Including, “…not up to any decision of any kind.”
      Such hugs to you!

  13. I wish I had done that . . . and now they’ve pretty much flown the coop–and flown back–and away again–and back . . .

  14. Love it!

  15. So beautiful!

  16. So beautiful! I’m inspired to strive for something similar with my future family 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

    • Hello Annie! So grateful this resonated with you for your future family. 🙂 It has made such a difference in mine. I love the photos you share. What an adventure!

  17. You are strengthening your circle, and teaching Wynn, Luke, and Wyatt what matters. Bless you for holding that center and finding a way to be together as you are…. Much love!

    • Susan, Oh, “..holding that center and finding a way to be together as we are.” How we try to do this, don’t we? We’re all in this together. Much love to you!

  18. Love it.

  19. I love your tradition, Dawn. I’m sure your children will carry it on when they have children. It is the anchor to your week, but most importantly to your family. I believe traditions heal us. They create a rhythm to our lives and that rhythmic pattern of sameness creates sanity when our world gets crazy or falls apart. And, patterns create more serotonin in our brains, so it’s a win-win all the way around!

    Thanks for sharing your tradition. Hopefully, more people will create one like it.

    Love from one of your biggest fans,
    Kenna 🙂

    • Dear Kenna,
      Oh, wouldn’t that be something of Wyatt, Luke, and Wynn did carry this on with their own children? I would wish for them what it has been for us, a grounding time and space in a world rife with ungrounding pulls. Thank you for lifting this. I loved what you wrote here, “I believe traditions heal us. They create a rhythm to our lives and that rhythmic pattern of sameness creates anity when our world gets crazy or falls apart.” I love, love, love this. Thank you.
      Love from one of YOUR biggest fans,

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