My granny was a typical Southern woman. That meant our New Year's dinner always included the traditional greens, black-eyed peas, and pork. For the past several years, Jesse and I have invited our family over for the traditional New Year's lunch. The menu for this year included chopped barbeque, mac-n-cheese, black-eyed peas, collard greens, banana pudding, and chocolate pie.
Everything was homemade, with the exception of the barbeque which we bought at our favorite local BBQ restaurant. I was proud of myself for making real mac-n-cheese instead of a Velveeta box mix.
While grocery shopping for the week, Jesse told me to pick up a ham hoc to season the greens. I have no clue what a ham hoc is and never could find one. I casually asked the man beside me at the grocery store if he knew where ham hocs were. I ended up with a community of strangers trying to help me in the bacon section. The man was researching it on his phone and showing me diagrams of pigs. An elderly woman was looking through pork selections to see what would work well. Another woman called her mother to see what she recommended. I don't know how so many people became involved, but I appreciated the strangers' desire to help. I ended up getting salt pork. Whatever Jesse did to the greens, they tasted amazing!
Jackson played with his cousins. I wasn't sure how we was going to do regarding potty training due to so many people and distractions. Despite being accident-free for a few days now, he ended up having an accident after most of the family left.
I'm so genuinely happy that our family get-togethers with Jesse's side of the family have extended to include aunts and uncles. Between birthday and holidays, my siblings and I are always getting together. I love that our children are close and will grow up with strong memories of their aunts, uncles, and cousins laughing together. I would give anything to be able to sit around the dinner table with either of my parents and their siblings and listen to them share memories of their childhood. While I can't experience that, I find such joy in the opportunity to hear my in-laws' stories and create new memories with them.