The feeling starts to set in sometime on a Wednesday. Messages start being exchanged across WhatsApp, there might even be a meme or two warming us up for the laughs that will be.
Often a news story will be shared or we begin a discussion via text about something great, or not so great, that is happening in life or the world.
If we are lucky we may even sneak in a mid week catch up, almost like a canape or an entree setting up the flavors for the next course.
Then Friday arrives. Religiously, ritualistically, unwaveringly, just as it has each and every week for the past 15 years. I have a major love affair for Fridays, not for the same reasons most people do when they spell out the TGIF acronym, but instead because it is the scheduled day in which the Siladji Friday Night Dinner goes down.
We’ve seen many people attend them over the years, each walking away with smiles that ache into the next morning. No one ever leaves disappointed. There is of course the usual proceedings… dinner, deserts, coffee and beverages… but it’s the moments in between and over these that write the stories we retell over the years that follow, often revisiting them to rekindle the laughs we had shared in those moments.
Each year the table setting gets larger. Someone introduces their partner. Someone gets married. Someone has a baby. Someone invites a friend over. An extended family member visits. We say good bye to family members. A whole extend family visits and stays. More than one person invites a friend to join while an extend family member is visiting. And then sometimes it’s just us. My siblings and their own little families. All coming together each Friday to share our tales, stories and adventures of the week that has been. Sometimes we have cried. Many times we have listened. Most of the time we laugh. And to balance it all out often we debate. One thing is certain though, we always come together. As a family.
I don’t know many people, unfortunately, that are as blessed as I who can say throughout thick and thin, truly, and standing the test of time, that their family without fail comes together on a scheduled day each and every week to share a closeness that can only be bought on by the very act of coming together. Husbands and wives of each others siblings come together as though they were born from the same, bonds that have grown because intentional effort and intrinsic love has been shared in the perfect balance. It really is unique.
I’ve wanted to tell the tales of what we have come to affectionately call these gatherings the Siladji Friday Night Dinner for some time. My best approach has been to invite those close to me to come along and share in the joy. And they have.
How is it that one family can be so close and make the effort without wavering for so long?
Because we make the effort. It’s habit. It’s Friday.
Of course the odd outside occasion or event has come up where one of us can’t attend Friday Night dinner but for the extreme most part there is an inherent understanding that Friday dinner is booked and everything works around that. And it works.
The importance of scheduling family…
People’s lives get busier, not easier. There will always be times where you are tired or won’t get along but family (however you define that) is family. I am fortunate to have both parents and siblings in good enough health to carry this tradition on for so long. I appreciate there are some readers out there who just don’t have that or have lost it at some point in their life. Family is however you you choose to define it and I’d argue that if the traditional sense of the word ‘family’ is non-existent for you then it’s worth bringing in a close circle of friends over the years that you too can share such a rewarding tradition in your home with. By scheduling it. Each and every week. Everyone is too busy one Friday? Make it one exception to move it to the Saturday, but still meet. Share your secrets. Share your joys. Ask for support. Listen to their stories. Watch them grow. Grow together. Life is richer that way.
One day I might make a sitcom of what goes on, so you too can share it with us. But until then I encourage you to put out an extra plate this Friday and invite someone over. And do the same next week. And the week after. And before you know it 15 years will have past and you will be blessed beyond imagination. Just like we did.
Happy Friday (or whatever your day is).
Update: Here is a Vlog of just one of the hundreds of Friday dinners we have shared…
If you love the Vlog I’d love you to subscribe to my channel :)