Our family recently enjoyed an early autumn breakfast on our back patio, on a rainy Sunday morning, with baked Mushroom Frittata, fresh out of the oven.

Soon we won’t be gathering anymore, as the colder weather sets in, and our two sons journey back up to college this very week. Oregon colleges start so late in the season, but I’m not complaining, because that means the gift of a few extra weeks at home with the boys, which I love!

We’re in the stage of life where soon all three of our kids will be embarking on their own lives. How quickly we’ll go from a busy, active life with college students, and one left in high school, with soccer, kid activities, and music lessons.  Paul and I are adjusting to the reality that we’ll soon be creating a quieter life of our own.

Our sons are already on their way to “freedom” and autonomy, paving their own way in life, and my role now, as a mom, is to step back, pray, and let our sons gain their own maturity and competence. They’re now making their own decisions and managing their own lives, as they move in to adulthood. It’s not always easy as a mom to let go…

Back to the food – which, for me, always brings comfort!

Coming together as a family over a meal is more of a highlight now than ever. Even when there are extra stragglers (our kid’s friends, who are always welcome), the conversation is so different and interesting. I’m listening more attentively to their stories, what they are learning, how they are growing, my eyes open to how the world is changing, and I’m realizing how precious “today” really is.

There are always the “I remember when” stories that are shared. The reminiscing from our kids is not always the big picture of their past, but the tiny minutiae of life, experienced as only a child would remember.

Those memories have become who we were as a family back then, and have shaped us into who our family is today. So many times when I think about the past, my mind is drawn to the meals we’ve had as a family. Not specifically the food itself, because quite honestly,  I’d never remember those specifics. But I remember the feelings of love. Love plus food equals comfort. Amen.

Today, in this blessed quiet September morning, I take stock.

I think of how food draws out good conversation. How it connects us, through nourishment and the loving hands that prepared the meal, and how we learn to embrace the company of one another.

Through years of transition, we listen and we love. Because this week, we’ll be standing at our front door waving our goodbyes, sending our boys back up to college.

And this day, too, will end. But hopefully in our journey ahead, we’ll still have many meals together.

Would you share the feeling and connection that you have with your family when sharing a meal?