I was born in Yellowknife and raised in Churchill, Manitoba, the same town my mother was raised in. One by one her siblings moved away as they got older, including her. This is common in small towns; a lot of people move on to experience different places with new opportunities.
Sunday evenings are the most memorable from my childhood. Everyone would get together for dinner at my grandmother’s house at around four o’clock. Every Sunday I was tasked with the gravy and my girls still say I make the best gravy they’ve ever had. Uncles, aunts, cousins, brothers, parents and sometimes a friend would congregate for this weekly gathering.
My grandmother would have different dishes every week, but being Ukrainian, homemade perogies were always on the menu.
When I had a family of my own, we carried on this tradition. Dinner at my mother’s or grandmother’s every other Sunday. At my mother’s house we would have large get-togethers like the ones I remember when I was young, but now there was a different side of the family, my father’s. His sister was the only one who remained in Churchill, but we would have random friends show up at four o’clock as if they could smell the food being cooked.
Moving from Churchill to the Yukon challenged us to keep this tradition alive. My brother Gunnar and a few good friends came on our Yukon journey, and participated in our Sunday tradition. They all moved away, though, to pursue other ventures in different cities. So being the only ones left in the Yukon we have found a new way to bring our family together. We regularly entertain several of our friends and their families; this sometimes consists of up to 20 people.
Our fast paced lives make it tough to spend time together. Work, homework, volunteer commitments, sports, and meetings leave little left for family time. We struggle balancing so many obligations in modern society that we sometimes forget about the ones that mean the most to us.
Every night we sit together as a family and talk of our day: Janessa tells about her new school; Hayley laughs to herself as she tries to tell a funny story about her goofy friends’ ordeal; or they ask how our workday went.
I have visited friends for dinner who eat in the living room so they can watch TV and others who have a TV in their dining room; there is no dinner conversation in these homes.
With so many distractions already, turn the world off; don’t answer your cell phone during dinner. Enjoy time with your family. You never know, one family member might not be there tomorrow.