Monday, November 10, 2008

Family Night

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.
-- Jane Howard

Every Monday, my boyfriend, his three roommates, their girlfriends, and I gather for family night. Each couple takes a turn cooking for everyone. Most Mondays it takes place at his extremely messy apartment. The couple of the week makes food, scrounges for clean plates and silverware to eat the food with, and then everyone finds a clear spot on the couch or table to scarf down their food. Because everyone lives there, the family tends to scatter as soon as the meal is finished. Conversations are short and tend to revolve around whatever football game is on the television.

This changes a little bit when it's our turn. Then everyone treks across the neighborhood to my apartment and sits around my big table (that I painstakingly set with table cloths and pretty dishes because it makes me feel like I'm back home with my parents). Sitting in such close quarters with nothing else to do but talk, allows the conversation to stretch for over three hours. Talk shifts from movies, to animals (would you rather run into an anaconda, a hungry lion, or a great white shark?), to the differences between old and new school pornography, to who is the most important character in the TV show The Office. My boyfriend revels in the clean up process (so much easier to do when your kitchen isn't a Superfund site) and I feel glad that the eight chairs I bought at IKEA are actually being sat in by human beings instead of dust mites.

I spent the day checking on a beef chuck roast as it simmered in my new crock pot. The smell of the simmering beef, carrots, and onions reminded me of childhood birthday parties, and the pretty dresses with puffy sleeves my mom used to buy for me. I felt so wonderfully adult putting the meal together for my new "Gainesville family" and playing hostess. I wonder when I will no longer feel like I'm playing adult and actually envision myself as an adult.

Has there been a defining moment in your life when you realized you were no longer playing adult, but had somehow become a full-fledged "grown up?"

Please share. :)

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