Sunday, November 13, 2011

On a Sunday

This morning, after realizing the necessity of taking two cars to church, I headed there with Emma so as to get her to her Sunday school classroom by 8:50am. Having recently begun teaching, she headed to classroom while I went to fill up my gas tank before returning for choir practice. Eric went in his car to first pick up Paul who had spent the night at a friend’s house before meeting us at St. Joe’s. After Mass, Eric took the two kids and headed home. He would soon leave again to take Paul to a nearby college where his youth group was meeting for an afternoon of rock climbing and swimming. Emma headed to her matinee performance at the high school and I went grocery shopping before heading home to a quiet house. It was a day where everyone went in separate directions, a strange occurrence for a Sunday in our house.

I love our usual Sundays. We make it out of the house and into one car and get to church in time for choir practice. We are greeted by parishioners who have watched over our family for years. Some ask how Sydney is doing at college and others comment on how tall Paul is growing after saying how they remember his baptism day nearly 12 years ago. Emma is complimented on her singing and Eric and I smile proudly. After grabbing a donut and a cup of hot cocoa downstairs after Mass, the kids wave goodbye to friends and we head over to the grocery store to do our weekly shopping. The kids often opt to stay in the van while Eric and I strive to make it quick, but we still arrive home at the same time each week. We unload groceries, usually turning on music or the football game as we do. I prep dinner and before long, everyone is doing schoolwork or vowing to do it later when procrastination sets in. The day ends with us in the family room watching Amazing Race on tv before bed.

When I was a child, my parents and I usually went to Mass on Saturday afternoon so as to sleep in on Sunday morning. Instead, I would awake to Dad’s classical music playing on the stereo and spotting both of my parents reading the Sunday newspaper, I would often grab the comics or the Parade Magazine section and sprawl out on the living room carpet to read. Mom would prepare a nice dinner which we’d eat around the dining room table with one of my brothers dropping in to join us. Sometimes we’d make a trip up to camp in the afternoon or Dad would suggest we go cross country skiing or skating. Other times Dad would work outside and I’d spend the afternoon swinging at the top of the back hill or if there was snow, sliding down the banking when Dad would make me a path with his snowshoes. Mom would bake cookies and at night the sound of a stopwatch ticking would get my attention as the next episode of Sixty Minutes would come on the tv. I was too young to be interested in that show then but sometimes The Wonderful World of Disney would be on and we’d watch shows like Peter Pan or The Shaggy Dog.

As I got older I too began using Sundays as homework days or else I’d practice piano and flute. It wasn’t necessarily a family only day as my friends would sometimes come over or else we’d meet for a bike ride, but looking back, it is the time with family that I most remember about this day of the week. Dad’s classical music playing is the strongest memory for me.

So today, with my family gone away from our usual Sunday routine, it was only natural that I would turn to the stereo. With music filling up the otherwise empty house, I took a few minutes to dance, much to the amusement of my puppy, and then I got down to work. I put away the groceries, cleaned up the kitchen, got my schoolwork done, and began prepping dinner for when my family would return home. Arriving home late after her play and her own youth group meeting, Emma missed out on Amazing Race tonight, but we all ended the day together under the same roof.

I hope when my children have families of their own that they will think back on our Sundays together. I hope the music comes on the stereo by mid-day in their own homes, and that they’ll end the weekend with a simple prayer thanking God for the love of family that carries each of us through the week.

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