Late last week, Dennis and I decided to invite a few friends over for an impromptu Friday night, family-style Italian meal.

Little J was going to a Star Wars sleep-over birthday party a few streets over, so I was excited to be able to talk at full voice into the night, maybe slap my palm on the table in fits of laughter, stay up really late, and then…sleep in. We did all of the above.

Terre, Mari, Ryan, and the lovely Cathy sat around our table with Dennis and me. We passed large, unmatched ceramic serving bowls of a simple penne pasta and Caesar salad, a dish of grilled asparagus, and a platter of Dennis’s famous grilled tri-tip. Bottles of red and white competed for the rest of the table space along with a few sweat-beaded carafes of water.

We sat down to eat at 7:30. We didn’t get back up until 12:30.

I don’t know what we talked about for five hours, but it was funny. When I close my eyes and remember the night, I see everyone with their mouths wide open, and squinting with laughter. I remember looking across the table and telling Dennis, (without words) “We are doing this a lot more often starting with tonight.”

So friends, get ready.

Like most parents of little ones, Dennis and I used to have friends over for dinner all the time in the PBE (pre-baby era). But after Little J was born, we found ourselves wanting to veg at night more often than not. And then with all the treatment, forget it. But I feel like we’re entering a different era. Treatment is more frequent, and yes, it’s on-going. But optimism, new furniture, and an evolving back yard are conspiring to invite friends over in spite of all that, even when we’re tired, even when it’s just a regular old Friday night. Why not?

Friday night so satisfied that, at one point I felt okay with the idea of a reckoning on Saturday, if Harold Camping were right. Before the ascension, we’d snuggle up with Little J on the bed and he could tell us all about his Star Wars party. Then we could tell him about our party, about Ryan imitating the eccentric public access TV guy, about Cathy’s stream of silent-laughter tears over the story of meeting Ryan and the stinky fish that nearly doomed their otherwise perfect first conversation. And ohh, Miss Terre’s soul-reaching laugh, like the sun cracked open and spilled light all over us. You lucky ones who know Terre know exactly what I’m talking about.

On Saturday, we went to Leigh’s daughter, Zabba’s first communion party.

The world did not end.

Instead, Zabba ate berries while her younger brother, Lil’ Salty, dressed in his handsome-guy clothes, surfed a two-by-four down the slide as grandma shouted to Ricky, “Look what your son’s doing!”

And frogs were hunted in white tights and ballet flats.

I got to hold a little baby with sweet, squishy arms that I wanted to eat. Dennis sampled all the pretty sweet treats on the table, confirming that whatever comes out of Johanna’s kitchen is indeed delicious and makes you thankful that the baker got the math right and that the so-called prophet did not. One more day for a few more chocolate and peanut butter ganache cupcakes, please.

It’s Sunday now, and past Little J’s bed time, but he and Dennis will not pull themselves away from the Lego pile in the living room. Heads down, matching hair cuts, they search and assemble, and now and then hum and sing Rockin Robin (tweet, tweet, tweet), and Little J announces, “Dad, we’re up deck and ready to sail.”

No one wants the weekend to come to an end. Most definitely not the world.

Should I be the one to say what time it is? To end the party? No way. Best to let times like this just stretch out. I reckon.

See you at the dinner table.




  1. Helena’s avatar

    Beautiful, beautiful, Beautiful, Jennifer. I want to come over, swim across the puddle, RIGHT NOW.

    And be part of that laughter and all that love

    and part of your days and give you and Dennis and Little J the World’s Biggest Hugs and smile so wide and so on and always.

    Love you.
    H (and you know that includes us all. A BIG 8-part hug—that’s what I’m seeing)

  2. Cathy’s avatar

    Finally…my 15 mins. of fame! But enough about me. I want to hear more about those chocolate and peanut butter ganache cupcakes.

  3. Dawn Gates’s avatar

    Sounds like that dinner party was magic. Yes, you SHOULD do it more! :D


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