Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Pleasure of their Company

Had a lovely Easter dinner at our friend Mary Ellen's Sunday. Her son Tim (Evan's good friend) was home, and Mary Ellen was gracious enough to invite all available Seyfrieds (PJ, Julie, Sheridan and our Seyfried-to-be Ya-Jhu). As we ate, I was struck by how very much I enjoy hearing these grown-up kids converse. They moved from Freud and Jung, to Lenin and Stalin, and the talk was informative and entertaining. As PJ translated Sheridan's German joke, Tim talked about his DC job, and Julie shared tales of her brunch shift at the retirement home, I was in heaven. I had been similarly transported to my happy place when we ate our traditional pre-Christmas Eve supper at the Carlsons.' All of both families had gathered for that one--and once again, the patter and laughter flowed freely.

Who are these delightful young people? What has become of our querulous, sloppy, picky children?

Wasn't it just last week that Sheridan was in his high chair, consuming his vat of Gerber oatmeal? He LOVED this stuff, and accompanied every bite with "yum, yum, yum." As he was our first, I thought all babies so vocalized--until we had houseguests who found his sound effects strange and hilarious. Wiry little Evan was far more interested in climbing the dining room door jamb than sitting and consuming anything on his plate. Rosie was a fourth grade vegetarian, a fine choice had she liked any vegetables ( a better term for her dietary predeliction: bread-and-cake-arian). PJ sent his drinks flying with such regularity that toddler Julie automatically headed for the kitchen to get a mop-up dishtowel (his New Year's resolution one year: "no more spilling!"--which he kept for about a week). Jules would try any food, but had a hands-down favorite: shrimp alfredo made with--important--jarred alfredo sauce. One year I did a scratch sauce and she could tell instantly (more preservatives, please!)

Conversationally, we were not exactly the Kennedys at the dinner table. The two older boys in particular were totally unforthcoming about their days at school. When asked, the stock reply was "nothing happened." Apparently, the fire that broke out in the cafeteria one lunchtime also qualified as "nothing" (I heard about it from the mother of a girl, of course). Rosie was a chatterbox, but also incredibly over-sensitive to anything resembling teasing (in addition to a knife and fork, she needed a box of tissues at her place). Often, our supper convos degenerated into warnings: "PJ, if you keep tipping that chair back you're going to...I TOLD you you would fall!" and fights over the dishes (somehow, though we had a chore list, it was never anyone's turn to do them).

But we got through the years when mealtime was a five-ring circus, and suddenly they've all come out the other side of childhood. Their company, in any combination--and I include their wonderful friends-- truly is a pleasure.

                                       So come on home for dinner, kids. Anytime. I miss you.


  1. Aww, Elise, I LOVE this post! It makes me happy! And this last family pic looks like it probably was close to the time we moved into the neighborhood. What a privilege to have known you all these years and have the pleasure of close proximity to your awesome kids! I miss them too! XO

  2. that's exactly how I feel-- my kids were home this weekend too... i wake up in an empty house and think they're all still in their beds.. and you took the time to find the photos too! We had that fisher-price high chair, and when i gave mine away i found 18 years of dried crud in the seat... great piece!!