When I was a kid, Saturday Night Tacos was a tradition my brother and I fell into. My mother was dating one of the brothers in a large family. This family had uncles, aunties, cousins, grandparents, wives, and children running around everywhere. 

Coming from a single parent home, I thought it seemed unreal that these people gathered every Saturday to talk story, to share their week, to share food, and to celebrate first steps. New jobs, boisterous laughter, and brotherly pranks filled the air.

We would get together with our larger family on holidays, and it wasn’t always as joyful. However, every Saturday we were invited to be a part of this celebration. Even after the relationship dwindled, my mother continued with Saturday Tacos. As my brother and I grew up, it involved inviting our friends, sharing tacos with whoever would come. It was an open invite, and sometimes it was just us.

Over time, Saturday Tacos disappeared. We got busy. School work turned into a career, marriage, and children. Before there was a literal ocean between us, other things took precedent.

It has been well over 15 years since I thought about Saturday Night Tacos. Last night, while making tacos with my husband, my mind was flooded with memories. As our kids ate their tacos, I tried to share with them all the practical jokes, the laughter, how the older kids would hang out before going out for the evening, and how the grandfather was the patriarch of this family with five brothers.

Most importantly, I shared how—regardless of what was going on in the world—this was their routine. It didn’t matter if they had a busy week at work, if they had a long day, or if they had plans afterwards. They made the commitment. 

As the world is shifting, it isn’t that we are less busy, or that there is magically more time to think and be still. Rather there is an unintended focus, a focus on the things we neglected. The things that we took for granted: an unaccepted dinner invite with friends, a neglected coffee date, a long overdue conversation. Life has a way of tricking you into thinking you are a master of the chaos, that it is easier to just get everything done, that there is time for the rest later. 

Now we aren’t so sure, with a looming pandemic, with the restrictions of literally not being able to meet with friends, colleagues, and family. As my husband and I ate, I told him when this is all over, when we have the opportunity again, we will bring back Saturday Night Tacos. Everyone is invited. Bring a taco fixin’ to share.

Kristie Fetterly

behindthemask mask