Soup on Sunday

Traditions sustain us, even when we’re unable to participate emotionally or physically. Midwestern Mama describes a family tradition of “soup on Sunday” that has endured her son’s addiction and now embraces his recovery.

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Sundays have always been our family days. With our first two children, we’d drive out to the lake to visit their two great grandmas and their great, great grandma. One of my favorite family photos includes the five generations – my two kids, their dad and uncle, their grandpa, their great grandma and their great great grandma. 

While the kids don’t really remember these days, they did come to know that Sundays were for family. When the Greats passed away, we continued family-focused Sundays. This might involve a nature walk, a trip to the zoo or a visit to Camp Snoopy at Mall of America. Sometimes we’d just “see where the car took us.” No matter what, it almost always included a special meal together and a visit with Grandma and Grandpa at their house.

Life got busier and busier as the kids grew older, but even when kid number three arrived we still reserved Sunday for some sort of extended family gathering that often involved aunts, uncles and cousins.

One of the early clues that #SoberSon was struggling was when he didn’t want to participate in family Sundays. His grandpa passed away at the end of junior year in high school and this coincided with a number of attitude and behavior changes. Oh, he’d show up if we insisted – and we did. He’d be nice to the relatives, but resentful toward us for disrupting his plans. We worried about what was going on and had our suspicions.

Interestingly, a few years later when our son’s addiction was in full swing, he started showing up again. Not every Sunday, but for quite a few. The family treated him well – in fact, almost as the honored guest. He’d eat, shower, and sleep before heading out again for days or weeks.

Our Sundays continued with or without #SoberSon. Deep down it was reminder to him, to all of us, that the tradition exists in our family and that it endures no matter the ups and downs that life brings. And endure, it does. Now 19 months in recovery, the Sunday tradition is a priority for #SoberSon and he makes it to as many as he can, work schedule permitting.

Each week, some combination of family members gathers at Grandma’s house on Sunday afternoon to enjoy a bowl of soup (or sometimes take-out Chinese or pizza). The cousins are now 8, 15, 18, 19, 23 and 26, and it just wouldn’t be Sunday without some family time.

Midwestern Mama

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