Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Girls Soup & Sandwich Night...

This tradition if you will, was actually started a year after my Grandpa passed away. He passed away December 10, 2003 and the following year my Aunt wanted to get together with all the ladies in our family and celebrate the life of my Grandpa. This was also a way for us to get through the holidays together. So initially that is how this all came about. My aunt always made the calls in early to mid November announcing the date in December for this get-together. Last year several of my cousins, my sister, and I were talking to one another, and were wondering if the girls night was going to take even take place, since here it was the very end of November and no one had gotten "the call". Then, the next Sunday we had each gotten the call for when it was. And here again a few of my cousins, my sister, and me played bunco together and that night we were like giddy little girls asking each other, "did you get the call" and we each just lit up with delight revealing we each had gotten "the call". At one point during that night, we were going around the room talking about what we were thankful about, and for some reason I felt compelled to share with my aunt how excited many of us were to get this call from her because we were all looking forward to this, but we weren't sure if we were going to have the girls night. Little did I know or any of us in that room know, that was exactly what my aunt had needed to hear. A little while later, I had a conversation with my aunt and she mentioned she had thought about not doing it, because she didn't want us to feel "obligated" to be there, but what she didn't know or realize until that night was, that it was a night we truly all looked forward too. And not one of us felt like it was something we had to go to out of obligation to her. That also was a huge turning point as well, because even though it started with celebrating the life of someone who meant a great deal to all of us, it has not turned into a night of celebrating family and the women and even the little girls in our family who will one day become women. Even though the girls night has taken on a new meaning, I know my Grandpa would be so proud because his life was lived showing his family and friends just how much he loved them and how important family is. So by doing this, we are honoring my Grandpa in the greatest way imaginable.

"The One Who Started It All"

I have an aunt, who every year for the past 4 years now has started this annual "Girls Night Soup and Sandwiches" tradition in our family. First let me say she one of the most thoughtful and amazing women that I know. And then on top of that, she is one of the most amazing cooks as well. So, this is definitely a night all the women in our family look forward too. Anyway she makes 2 different kinds of soup and then we have a few different kinds of cold cuts and several different cheeses on Hawaiian bread! And she is also sure to have lettuce and tomato to add to your sandwiches if you life. Yum! She makes the most delicious cheese soup and also a taco soup as well. This is a night where "no boys" are allowed. We have fun eating dinner and catching up with some of the ladies in our family we do not see on a regular basis. As well as, just spending time together with those we do see on a fairly regular basis. Girls under the age of five are not yet allowed if at all possible, and if the Mom's choose to leave the girls at home who are old enough, and just want to enjoy a night without their offspring that is okay too. Even though Ava is not quite five, I truly look forward to this night and one day sharing it with her.

Okay, so onto this years wonderful "Girls Night" event. Out of the 20 people invited 19 actually showed up. And each year it seems like the crowd just gets a little bigger and bigger. This year had an important meaning as well because last year my Mom was diagnosed with the middle stages of Alzheimer's and my aunt and my Mom are very close. With how my Mom has declined just in the last year, it was really important to my aunt for my Mom to be there. So I made sure my Mom actually was there this year. It was important to me as well that she be there. Last year my Mom didn't go and my sister had to work, so even though I love my family dearly, I just felt like something was missing for me. But this year both my sister and Mom were there and it felt like it should. So on this night we enjoyed delicious soup and sandwiches and played fun games. There was even a game that was a series of questions about my aunt and how well we each knew her. For as well as I thought I knew my aunt and as close as I've always been to her, let me just say I learned a lot about her! :)

It is truly funny the things you learn about people that you think you know so well. Try it sometime. Ask your Mom or your aunts, Grandma's, sisters, cousins or whoever it is you think you know oh so well. You might just surprise yourself and learn something you thought you knew about them. And often times we think we know a person and maybe at one time what we think we know was true, but people change. Their likes and dislikes change over time. No one ever stays exactly the same. Last year we did this with my Grandma and as well as I thought I knew her, there were things about her I definitely learned.

Another game we played was a game with 30 different bags of "things around your house". All you could do was reach your hand in and feel the item. No peeking in the bag, then you would write down your guess. I missed one out of the 30 items. I could have sworn that one I missed was actually fruit snacks. But of course by the time it got to me, it was a mutilated Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. ;) Anyway my cousin Beth won that game since she got all 30 right! Darn! And I lost the game about how well I know my aunt too. I didn't do horribly, but I didn't do that great since I obviously didn't win.

The final game we played for the night was a rousing round of bingo. This game was played because when my Mom and aunts were growing up my Grandma's favorite game was bingo. You would think she would be one of those little old women who frequent the bingo halls, with a table lined with trinkets and doo dads, but she isn't. Yet she loved to play bingo with her family at home. She has been to the bingo halls and has fun, but it isn't the place she spends much time. Anyway we played the "Letter F" for Family. And we all got a really good laugh out of my sister when she displayed one of her not so bright moments and asked my Aunt why she kept calling "O's" when you don't need them. Which we all did need the first one in the O row. Needless to say she didn't win that round of bingo. Sometimes I would swear she was a blond...but she is a brunette through and through!

After the games my aunt then surprised several of us with "recipe boxes" of our own. These included many of her most favorite and delicious recipes. She even hand wrote out each recipe in the box. She even included for each "family", different recipes she thought they would really enjoy. For example, mine includes more "chicken" recipes, since I do not eat a lot of red meat. To see the excitement on every one's face was just something I will never forget. It was so fun to watch everyone look through their boxes and ooh and aah over the recipes. Truly the most perfect gift she could have passed onto us. We are truly blessed. Oh and as for my gift to her, she loved it. I talked to her the next day and she just went on and on about it. That definitely made me really glad. After the gift opening she then served up such delightful deserts. There was pumpkin pie, cheesecake, or brownies to choose from. And after all was said and done we all left with a tray filled with many different kinds of homemade cookies and banana nut bread. She truly spoils each and every one of us. I am so thankful this girls night has become a family tradition. I hope we never get so caught up in our lives that this falls to the wayside. Happy Holidays!

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