Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Saucy Affair

Once a year we go wild. Pull out the stops. It’s called Valentine’s Dinner, and it’s a saucy affair.

We borrowed the idea, years ago, from a dear friend. Now it’s our tradition. The boys and I spend the day elbow-deep in meatballs. We make our own sauce. We toss a heaping salad and bake a from-scratch red velvet cake. Then we serve spaghetti, in one long noodly strip, down the center of our dining table (we always have a bright red throw-away table cover). One rule: there are no plates. Okay, two. Forks are a must. But everyone gets a pasta claw and we eat from the table. The grandparents come and it’s quite the deal. Wild. Crazy. Saucy. Ours.

“Do you remember, Shawnie, the first year we did this?” Mom asked during dinner.

“Sure, “ I said, recalling how small my big guys must’ve been.

“Well, it’s interesting,” she said.


“You were tense that night. Like you were trying to have fun. It’s different now,” she said.

“How’s that?”

“You roll with it. The fun. The mess,” she said. “I’m glad.”

I suppose she’s right. I have learned to relax. Enjoy. Have fun. Sit back. But it’s not because I know that everyone will pitch in for the clean up or that we won’t have to get funky again for twelve months. It’s not even, really, because I know that the boys treasure these memories more than the booty they’ve hidden under their beds. It’s because I’ve learned to see God in the whole affair.

When the table is surrounded, every chair (and piano bench) is full, I see the Lord. When the grandparents laugh at something the boys have said and I’m blessed that they are here, I see God. When Gabe gobbles his salad and Lonny’s mom passes the warm bread and Zay’s little face will be stained velvet red for two days, I know God is near.

And at that time, in the most unromantic place, in a wild whir of sauce and noise, I feel His love.


  1. Thanks, Teresa:) Great, great idea...miles of memories for us. Love you!

  2. This tradition is truly unique and truly you! hugs!

  3. I'm going to forward this blog post to my friend, Kristine, who gave me the idea years ago. :)

  4. Sometimes it takes that little nudge to take you out of your comfort zone before you can see God's hand in a situation. :) What a fun tradition for your family!