Sunday, November 30, 2008


Somehow the Sunday after Thanksgiving is the Sunday-est Sunday of the year. We have hosted another big dinner, with our friends we have cleaned up in shifts for hours afterward. We have journeyed into the city to decorate gingerbread houses, visit, and shop. We've had turkey sandwiches and turkey burritos and microwaved stuffing and lamented once again that there are never enough left-over mashed potatoes.

And today, on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, the final remnants of the feast will soon be simmering on the stovetop as green chile chicken and turkey stew made from the stock we boiled up yesterday.

Most people I know cherish their Sundays, across a wide array of reasons. My closest friends, both city and island, consider Sundays their untouchable family day. With lives crammed full all week long and friends to see on Saturdays, Sundays are held aside to share a leisurely breakfast, read the paper, flop in front the televised sport of the season, go for walks, and in our case, plant something. We all recharge.

We don't have TV at our house so the sports thing is out (although I sometimes crave it and I don't even like sports. Figure that out.) But, recently, we've added a standing activity to our Sundays that never fails to make me smile. Dylan's best friend comes over for the afternoon.

Dylan is an only child and his friend is the oldest of three. He recently switched schools and now the two boys, who were really only beginning to explore their friendship, don't see each other much. In fact, as school began, they stopped running into each other altogether. I did run into his mom, though, and we discovered that both boys missed their friendship and were also both struggling in similar ways in their social circles. They could really use a buddy right now.

One Sunday turned into two and then it just seemed natural to do this most weekends. Sometimes we get a sleepover in there as well. It makes me smile to hear laughter and boisterous one-upsmanship ring throughout our small house all afternoon.

We even have a routine: Unless it's pouring rain, the first hour has to be spent outside. Then they come in and usually it's Harry Potter on the computer, although today we've got Risk in the living room. Food fits in there somewhere, then they head back outside to work a little more on their project - a "mine" in the back forest. AKA a giant hole that takes two 10 year old boys about an hour a weekend to dig.

Every age of a child's life brings new promises and challenges. I'm finding 5th grade tough, for me. It is the first time in my son's life I don't have ready solutions to what faces him. He is facing academic and social problems that he must solve. I can support him, but I cannot fix what's wrong.

So, I like to think that these Sunday afternoons are a little like Roosevelt's "chicken in every pot" Sundays. These three or four hours together - digging, laughing, eating, and playing - give our sons the emotional nourishment they need to face the slings and arrows of the classroom and playground for the week, knowing that they will be there for each other, like each other just for who they are, in a few days once more.

Sundays are, indeed, for recharging our bodies and souls, ourselves and our families. This holiday we spend thinking about what we are grateful for, and I have a long list. Today I am grateful for this friend and this friendship and the strength it brings my son.

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