The one reason we have a close-knit family 33



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All families are different. Some are big with dozens upon dozens of people and some are small – but there is never less love in a smaller one compared to a bigger one. My family is medium-sized. If you add up the children, grandchildren and ourselves, there’s 21! Not as big as some of our friends but you can’t exactly call us small either. Last weekend we had our usual Sunday evening dinner and I couldn’t help but feel proud.

It’s been a tradition – every Sunday night the kids and grandkids know we have an open door policy and as long as they text before 4pm, they are all welcome for dinner. Sometimes there will only be five of us eating together but other times there will be 15. It’s something my husband and I have done for years and I truly believe that it is one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.

It has given us regular contact with the family. People could turn up if they wanted to – but they never had to. It meant that when we saw everyone, it was because they genuinely wanted to catch up and spend time together. Some would come because they couldn’t be bothered to cook dinner (hello uni student grandchildren!), some would come because they were too busy rushing around from sport to cook dinner and some would come because they just enjoyed it.

Regardless of whether it was out of convenience or enjoyment, it meant that our family always came back to each other. We’ve always had a time to catch up, stay up to date on everyone’s achievements and stories and it’s helped us to stay very involved in everyone’s lives.

Some of our friends have told us that we’re “so 60s” for still hosting these family catch ups after all of these years and maybe we are! But we enjoy these moments so much and I wouldn’t change them for the world.

I personally believe that the relationship with one’s family is the most important they’ll have. Family is always there for you when the going gets tough, family will always support you or help you – even if you’ve done the wrong thing! Family will always give you a smack around the chops if you deserve it and will pull you in line when you need it. And most importantly, family will always love you.

I really feel that these dinners we have sort of “force” the family hand. If two siblings had an argument, they are almost forced to get over it because they know they’ll see each other on Sunday night. When someone has done something they aren’t so proud of, they’ll shy away from stepping a toe out of line because they know they’ll have to front up to the family on Sunday night.

Even when family is separated by distance, our Sunday night catch ups still play an important role in our relationship. My son is a fly in fly out electrician and he will always ring up and speak on loudspeaker for a while. When my daughter and her family were living in Oslo, we would Skype on Sundays.

Making that regular point of contact has been the best thing for our family and I’ll always, for as long as I live, love my Sunday night dinners.


Do you have a regular family catch up, too? Share your stories about your own family catch-ups in the comments below…

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. It is a great idea but I think the main reason is that you are still married .divorce changes everything. Kids take sides or butt out away from both sides.. So well done you for staying married and being able to enjoy such a tradition

  2. How special! My daughter’s three children and their partners like to visit my daughter on Sunday evenings. Even as adults they receive a family board game at Christmas and love to play it together on Sunday. They have a great time and I love the times I am able to join them.

  3. As our family has spread across the eastern states of Australia over the past 20 years our contact has gradually diminished. We love time together, but it’s so hard to have everyone available. Well done for managing to overcome this. I suppose it might help if we were able to Skype, but our internet isn’t good enough.

  4. Good on you for keeping up your 60s tradition. I have my grandkids and their parents on Tuesday nights, ten people total. Sometimes it’s exhausting but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

  5. My parents did this for years. All welcome as families expanded. Always fun until we lost Dad. Mum kept it up for years. All the grand kids new that Nanas house was full of love and acceptance. I’m sure that was why as Mums health deteriorated the grand kids joined my sisters and I in caring for her until for her safety she had to go to a nursing home. We realised home was where Mum was so we would take the meals to the nursing home and all would turn up there to be together. Mum loved it as did we until she passed. Now it’s at our sisters house as it’s the largest to host us all.

    1 REPLY
    • What a wonderful caring family you all are. Your mum would be so proud if the love & care she received. I bet the nursing home brightened up every time you visited!

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