Sunday, October 20, 2013

31 Days of Mississippi Goodbyes: Eating Beans and Rice on Friday Night at Mickey and Minnie's

My parents were out of town this weekend, so we missed eating beans and rice with them yesterday. Actually, in this particular case, it worked out really well. It had been a truly terrible day for Annie and Graves had skipped his nap, so I was understandably hopeful for an early bedtime. Additionally, we spent three out of the four other weeknights at church, and I was craving a night at home with no agenda. I cooked fish for Peyton and myself when he got home and we actually went to bed early (for us).

But, in general, Friday night beans and rice with my parents are one of the things I know I'll miss most of all. It's truly one of THE hardest goodbyes. Partly because it's my weekly visit with them and partly because it's such a longstanding tradition.

I've said this before, but routines and rhythms mean a lot to me. I've gotten more flexible in the past few years, but I still crave predictable things. It helps me feel settled and secure.

Rewinding, if you don't know the background, my dad has been fixing red beans and rice on Friday nights since I was tiny. I think he started it around the time I was Annie's age, actually. I literally can't remember a time in my life when Friday night wasn't beans night. My dad sort of developed a cooking hobby during his late fifties, but growing up my mom fixed dinner nightly. However, the main exception was Friday night when Mick made his fabulous red beans and rice. When I was little, I hated the red beans and I just ate the rice and bread (because who cares if your meal is absurdly carb-heavy when you're six?). I actually didn't give the beans a chance in earnest until my late teens and at that point, I discovered I loved them. But I still eat them and the rice separately.

I chose to go to college about thirty minutes from home and so I never made a break with the tradition at that point. Because our dating relationship was long-ish (four years), because we had started out as close friends anyway, because Peyton was relatively poor at that point in his life (he was paying for his education entirely by himself at that point), and because dorm life had me pretty maxed out on my people quota by the weekend, Peyton and I actually didn't do much dating while we were dating. Inevitably, unless there was a formal or another function that my tribe (like a sorority, but not) was involved in or unless there was a super special event in Jackson, Friday nights found us enjoying, you got it, red beans and rice.

I remember in those days, I'd kiss Peyton goodbye after church on Wednesday (I typically came home once midweek for church, too) and already I'd be thinking about Friday's supper. Part of it was him, of course. But partly I loved being back home and visiting with my parents. And, as I alluded to, especially during last two years, I LOVED the dorm, I so relished being back in my own room. The peacefulness, the quietness, the stillness. I had a really cozy space in that house (more on that later) and it was such a refuge.

These days, it's usually Thursday night before I think much on it and then I get so excited because I know that on Fridays once I put the kids down for naps, the day by myself is basically over. It's such a nice escape. I get the perks of adult interaction without the work required to put on makeup and real clothes. And I get a break from having to keep a hawk eye on the adorable poop smear bandit and from having to answer every blessed question his equally adorable, terribly inquisitive sister can come up with. It's nice to share the evening burden sometimes.

It's just good to have a place where I can relax and be every part of my real self and my kids can too (poop smearing and never ending questions and all) and know that we are loved unconditionally.

I'll admit that Friday nights have gotten progressively harder (and later). It's a challenge to get them fed and desserted and pj'ed and out the door to come home before like ten o'clock. And that's now that I've stropped trying to bathe them over there most of the time. But I still adore it.

It's hard for me to find a silver lining in this one, truth be told. I don't know. Skype will be we fun? So, so not the same, though. I'm really expecting Friday nights once we move to be super hard for me. I won't be surprised if it's one big tear fest at first.

 I guess the one thing I can think of is one thing that I know will be great about NYC in general. And that's that I have to become more independent, or rather more dependent on the Lord. One drawback of going to school so close and then jumping right into married life is that I've relied so much on my parents (and Peyton). I feel like after Annie was born, and especially after Graves for some reason, I made big strides and cut ties a little in some ways. But I know this will be good for me, good for our marriage, good for our little family, and good for my faith.

And, of course, when we get back, we'll pick up right where we left off with our Friday night standing date with Mickey and Minnie!

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