Posts tagged #Italian

Sunday Sauce

Sometimes a little chaos reminds us of what matters

We start the week with Sunday dinner. It gives me purpose for the week, a smile on my face and a reminder that all things in life matter but it is the little things that bring us joy. Sometimes I may curse it "Of course Dad we are having dinner ugh" but the reality is it is my heart. From start to finish it may only take 2 hours, the table may extend 3 long or it may just be one, it is filled with family and friends, great food and a lot of chaos. It is the perfect reminder that food brings people together and that no matter what these wild, wacky intense people do they will be there to support and love you. It is how my week starts and by Thursday I am craving and planning Sunday dinner. My kids have fell in love with this tradition and know that they can bring friends but that Sunday is for the family. They will walk into adult life with a tradition that will always bring them to people that love, support and are loyal to them no matter what. Some Sundays it may seem like work but once we are around that table it fills me with the love and gratitude I need to survive. And it all starts on Sunday, which makes my family ready for the week! 

Over a pot of sauce, some meatballs, salad some great bread and cookies we simply touch base put our phones down (well most of us) laugh, connect and remind one another that we are a family. Maybe the week sucked and it was hard to get through and you do not want to talk about it, that is ok cause someone at that table will crack a joke. And for a moment you forget just how bad your week was. Maybe you had a great week and you want to tell everyone, perfect cause during the passing of the sauce you can share that story. Damn sure that someone will give you a high five and spill their milk only to erupt in more laughter. That is not to say there is not an argument or disagreement, someone wanting the last scoop of rigatoni. Point is for just 2 hours we are together. And when Sunday Dinner does not happen you feel like something is missing. I consider it my therapy in a way. Through cancer, through dementia, through divorces, through just crap Sunday dinner is there. That consistency gives me balance. 

Recently, Sam wrote a paper about family. The first thing he talked about was Sunday Sauce. Sometimes I wonder if it annoyed the boys that this was an "every Sunday thing". But frankly, I do not give a shit they can take 2 hours out of their week to spend with cousins and grandfather. Then I realized by reading Sam's paper when he said "This is a tradition I plan to keep" they actually like or better yet LOVE it. Chances are they will not all live in the same town but if even once a month or year my kids and a few cousins came to the table for Sunday Sauce amongst their chaotic lives to find a little balance with each other, wow just wow. I would think that it was worth all those pounds of pasta. 



Posted on May 11, 2018 .

Yes Ann Marie there is a Santa Claus

I know that people get all pissed off when Target puts their Holiday stuff out after the back to school is done but I don't mind it. The holidays no matter what you celebrate make me happy. I love that my Jewish friends light the menorah in celebration of Hanukah. I love that my Christian friends get ready for the birth of baby Jesus. It's a joyous time of the year so stop bitching and try actually enjoying them. Not just the gifts and the food but the feeling of the holidays. Dig deep it's there. There is a magic in the season I just know it!

When I was about 7 there was a massive storm in upstate NY, I know shocking. We were up at my Uncle Mike and Aunt Carm's on Christmas Eve and the storm hit bad. They lived about 20 minutes from my house and about 20 minutes from my other cousins so no one was going anywhere. We hadn't planned on a big ole sleep over but we went with it. All my cousins were there, we were stuffed from eating but were having a great time so who cares that we were stranded just meant more time screaming at each other in the loving Italian way we do.  Now keep in mind I'm not only the family princess but I'm the baby my cousins are all 10 years older. They didn't care if they got their gifts Christmas morning or a day later but what about Santa??? I was right at the age when my friends were all "there ain't no Santa" crap. And I wondered if it was true! I went to sleep at my Aunties all
snuggled in a bed (princesses get beds all the rest took the floor) and thought "if I have gifts in the morning there is a santa!". I didn't tell anyone what I thought I just dreamt of Christmas morning with my cousins and of My Friend Mandy doll.

I woke up very early and the snow was friggin crazy, it went up to the door and I wondered how we would ever get out. Thank god being the good Italians we had plenty of food! Ok back to the morning. I shoved my sister and told her to wake up she looked at me like I was nuts for what, PRESENTS ugh she was dense. But then I thought she's right If Santa was real there'd be gifts cause he would know where I was, if she doesn't care there's no such thing and my gifts are at 332 Orwood Place. I remember how bad I wanted that doll and how sad I was. I woke everyone up and we went downstairs to wake the smelly older boys, my brother included.

Holy Jesus and Happy Shamus!!! There were frigging gifts under that tree, a lot. My name was on some "AMIE", holy holy holy he is real. Santa is real. I opened the presents with everyone, there was paper everywhere, yelling and a fried something smelling so good. Then I opened it.... There she was Mandy! Yes Ann Marie there is a Santa! I called Tracy cause ya always call your BFF. Best Christmas ever, ever. I went back to school and told my stupid friends they were wrong Santa is real
and he hooked me up. They agreed Santa was totally awesome and real.

When I think of that Christmas I try so hard to think about how my family was reacting to me. I'm crying as I'm typing cause I see Linda nudging Maria. I see Lori smiling and brushing my hair. I can see my brother laughing with Tommy, Chucky and Dave I thought they were making fun of me. I see my Grandma rubbing my dads shoulders and my Uncle Chuck and Uncle Mike nodding their heads. My aunt Madeline's cooking with Aunt Carm nod their whispering and smiling. I see me playing with my Mandy completely oblivious to them but feeling so filled with love, magic and joy, the energy from them.

 I tell my kids this story and about how I felt and how awesome it was when they give me the Santa crap because that was all real and Santa is real. I stop the story there though to them. But my daddy and my 2 uncles got in their car and drove 2 hours in a snow storm that made history to Lyncourt then 2 hours back to get the gifts. They are the real Santas but the magic of what they did is what the holidays are about. My mother had been gone for 6 years but between the trial and the aftermath I'm sure the hurt was still raw. They just as much as me need the magic of Christmas. They need the warmth, laughter, love and joy. Isn't that what the holidays are about? Giving others and the feeling it gives you! Isn't it about love and life no matter how difficult your life is.

Maybe this story is exaggerated, maybe it only took an hour but I don't care the magic is there. I keep thinking of this time in my life, when my family needed happiness and joy and how they did just that by making the princess happy. And I am forever grateful, forever. They knew this princess was going to need magic for life. And a shiny tiara!


Posted on November 24, 2013 by Ann marie Otis.

Posted on December 24, 2015 .