Today around 3:30pm, I started daydreaming about Sunday dinner with my family. It’s not uncommon for me to daydream about food around this time on a Tuesday, especially because it’s in the middle of a three-hour writing workshop (I may have to petition for 10 minute breaks because five minutes is not enough time to get to the nearest bakery and back). Usually I dream about the tacos I just had, and today would’ve been the right day to mentally craft a menu for next week’s Thanksgiving dinner. But instead of turkey and pies, I was caught up in thoughts about my mom’s cooking on random Sundays for no other reason except the fact that I could make it home that weekend.
Every so often in high school, I would make the three hour trip home with one or both of my parents for a weekend. Usually these trips served multiple purposes: sometimes I got my hair done, occasionally I went to dances with my friends, and on those special rare weekends when I wasn’t swamped with homework, I spent my days shopping with my mother and evenings watching Family Guy and Comedy Central with my dad. No matter what we did on Friday and Saturday, Sunday would eventually rear its ugly head. We went about our day slowly, trying to savor as much time as possible before it got too dark outside and my dad would have to drive me back to Birmingham.
After scrambling to pack everything I’d brought home, clean my room, and finish the homework I’d abandoned, my parents and I would sit down to one of my mom’s famous Sunday evening spreads. She almost always made fried chicken just for me, and the mac and cheese had a special flavor that I can only describe as a Jamaican mother’s love.
Steamed vegetables and sweet potato went from plate to stomach as we joked at the table. Funny stories turned into life lessons, and serious incidents were interrupted by bouts of uncontrollable laughter. Time always went by too quickly during these dinners. While my dad loaded the car, I would help my mom rinse the dishes and load the dishwasher. If I lived at home, the dishes would’ve been my responsibility, but Sunday nights were reserved for wine and catching up on tennis matches my mom had missed during the week. No matter the season, I would look out at the setting sun in the kitchen window and think, “I never want to leave.”Things are busy for me in college, so even with the closer proximity to home I can hardly find the time to escape for the weekend. I look forward to the moments when I can surprise my mom one Friday night with a visit, and we can spend quality mother-daughter time in Shondaland with wine and popcorn. And even though next Thursday will be the day we devote to a big family dinner, I can guarantee we’ll cook up a storm on Sunday morning. For now, popcorn and mocktails will do. And do you want to know the best part? I don’t even have to rush back to school!
Hang in there, everyone. Thanksgiving break is just a week away!