Wednesday Afternoons

Posted on March 19, 2007. Filed under: musing |

{This is the post I did my brainstorming for in class the other day! Did it turn out the way I planned–or even how you expected it to? Let me know in the comments!}

When I was a kid, Wednesday afternoons were special. As a child of recently divorced parents, I spent most of my time with my wonderful mother, who somehow managed the amazing feat of going back to school and getting an advanced degree while caring for me. (I was a fairly good get who became increasingly troublesome as I headed toward — and then away from! — high school. I have a few things in common with Kathy here, because there’s no doubt that I put my parents through a lot. And like Kathy, I’ve come to really respect what my parents went through and how much they did for me, even though I didn’t always make it easy.) But Wednesday afternoons were a break from the day-to-day life of avoiding homework and other activities. Wednesday afternoons were the day my dad picked me up from school and spent the afternoon and evening with me.

Usually, we would have a snack (my favorite was strawberry-rhubarb pie) and then we would go somewhere in San Francisco, like the science or art museum or a park or a movie. (I think I made him take me to see Grease like three times.) Often we would wander through a bookstore, something I still love to do today. Somehow I usually got out of doing much homework on Wednesdays, but occasionally my dad would help me get through some math, or work on a report.

The most importatnt thing we did, however, was eat. This was the one night a week I would eat out, and it was an important part of my growing up because it exposed me to so many kinds of foods. We would eat sushi, and pasta, and a lot of Vietnamese food. Sometimes we would have burritos. For a while, I was famous for making my own burritos at our favorite Chinese restaurant in the neighborhood, Yet Wah. I would take mu shu pancakes, but instead I would fill them with rice and oyster sauce beef and roll them up and eat them like that. (Maybe that was because I couldn’t use the chopsticks so well?) Each week, we would pick a different restaurant, and sometimes we’d like it so much that we’d keep going back again and again.

These dinners out with my dad also exposed me to the idea that sitting down to eat some good food is also the perfect opportunity to have a good, thoughtful conversation. I remember those long dinners as educational experiences, both because they exposed me to so many places in San Francisco and because of the conversation. They were a good time to have arguments and discussions and to think about and learn about things, something I still love to do when I “break bread” with friends and family. Sometimes others would eat with us — maybe a friend of mine from school or my future stepmother — but usually it was just the two of us.

Wednesday afternoon were a tradition that started almost 30 years ago now. For more than 10 years, I spent almost every Wednesday afternoon with my dad, but you probably won’t be surprised to learn that I didn’t really appreciate that time until much later, when I realized how much that time had influenced me, and how many friends I have who never got to spend that kind of time with their parents. Now, I realize how lucky I was then!

For a few weeks this summer, it’ll be one extended Wednesday afternoon: my father and I are going on a two-week trip together to visit some old family friends who moved to Switzerland a while back. I don’t really know much about the food in Switzerland, or how much I’ll like it, but I count myself as lucky to have the opportunity to have that many more long, thoughtful conversations with my dad — and to really appreciate them, too!

What’s your favorite childhood memory of your parents or someone you are close to? Write about it in your journal — or even tell us about it in the comments, below.


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3 Responses to “Wednesday Afternoons”

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i liked reading your blog! made me see that you just dont know a person intell you know where they came from. the one thing i like to do is eat, i think im always trying to eat something different so i tend to eat more than i should. i hope you have a blast with your father this summer. i would one day like to take a trip to Switzerland see how it’s like over there. see you tomarrow
crystal barillas

I enjoyed your blog because I can relate to it a lot. The only thing is that I hardly see my dad but I make more of an effort than he does to see he often and just hang out. Now that we’re both older and have less time I would like to see him and know how hes doing because ever since my parents got divorced I have lived with my mom.

I loved your story about you,and your dad! I grew up with both my parents, but my best friend didn’t. She had always talked about wanting to see her dad when we were much younger, but She never got to. I think it was when we turned about 23 or 24 yrs old. We found out that her daddy had passed. It was the most saddest thing for me to have to see her go through. I think it was the thought of her wanting him in her life so bad, but never got the chance to! My father was her father and that’s just how we grew up.. I’ve known her since we were in the first grade, and we still remain besties today. Were both now much older now, and realize, that time is precious. Every moment or second spent with someone you love shall be cherished forever. Because you never know what will happen! We are not promised tomorrow! May you spend many more happy Wednesdays with your Daddy!

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