Sundays mean a lot of things to me depending on what stage of my life I am in: Worshipping at church, relaxing with our family, going for drives in the country.
Sundays in our home always mean nothing is ever scheduled. I don't even allow the girls to play organized sports on Sundays because this is our day as a family to reconnect, unwind and have no agenda.
But there is something missing from our Sundays.
Dinner at my parents' home.
Every Sunday from the time I was a young adult until they moved away in 2005, we would head over to my parents' house for an amazing home cooked meal.
Mom would work all day in her kitchen getting ready for dinner, sometimes trying out new dishes, but always making a four- or five-course meal. She would pick up a new cookbook and try recipes out on us. Sometimes she would go to the cooking store and buy a new pan just for Sunday dinner.
Occasionally we would pitch in but secretly I know she didn't mind doing the work herself.
She was in her element.
She loved to cook for her family and provide a meal that would send us into the week restored, definitely a better human being.
Last month, I had such a vivid dream.
I pulled into the driveway of a white ranch house, immaculate and sparkling on the outside.
It was a gloriously beautiful sunny day.
I was getting the mail (a full mailbox with a pair of shoes in it, does that hold dream meaning??).
Suddenly, my mom opens the door and asks, "Would you like to eat lunch on the patio?"
I woke up, rubbed my eyes and immediately tried to go back to sleep. Because I so badly wanted it to be real, I wanted to be in that place and I wanted to cry all at the same time.
Actually, I did cry.
I miss my parents.
More than I let on in my normal routine of life.
I have children to take care of.
I have a husband to be there for.
And then there is that thing called life.
But day to day there is always a constant.
I miss my mom and dad.
My dreaded fear has always been that by the time we are free to live close to them, something will prevent that.
I want this so badly that I try to live in my present life but find myself always wistfully thinking about someday . . . someday.
I am caught in this struggle of wanting the years to go faster so we can be near them again but also wanting the years to come to a screeching halt because I don't want my girls to grow up so fast.
As I was sitting around with a group of my besties a few weeks ago, they asked something to the effect of, "Do you have any funny stories about you and your mom growing up?"
And it stopped me in my tracks.
Because I couldn't remember anything.
Specific funny moments.
Nothing came to mind.
I know we have had many of them over the years.
Our home was always filled with laughter and fun times.
This is where I get my sense of humor!
Why can't I remember any??
Then on the drive home in the dark, it hit me.
When we lived closer, we would always reminisce.
Especially after Sunday dinner, which haven't had with any regularity in eight years.
We would sit in mom and dad's family room with our bellies full of amazing food and talk about old times.
Some sad but almost always funny and good times.
And we would laugh.
Laugh long and hard.
Unfortunately, these moments just don't happen as frequently now since we are so far apart.
Which is probably why nothing popped into my head.
The realization of this made me so dreadfully sad.
We see my parents on an average of once every three months or so now.
When you live far apart, you reason that isn't too bad.
Eight years ago, that would have seemed like a lifetime to be apart.
But now, it is what we have to do to get by.
And when we get together, we have such an amazing time.
We reminisce, talk about the future and dream of a day when we are no longer tied to phone calls, texts, 11-hour drives or plane fares.
Kari Wagner is stay-at-home mom by day, superhero by night. She loves to write about her adventures in life, love and decorating.
See more of Kari's stories here.