Meghan is up in Alaska, where right now it gets light out at 11am and then the sun goes down around 2 pm. Her husband is in the military and is getting set to deploy soon, which means he will be gone for a year or so while she and their infant son keep things rolling at home. She has recently decided to take up cooking and baking, and is really quite good at it.
Susan struggles with dementia and is worried that her "mind is erasing itself," as she put it the other day. She is sad she can't remember the history shared with her husband, and listens to him tell her stories about when they were younger, smiling at pictures of them, not recognizing herself. Back in the day, she was an exceptional cook, and is distressed because she can't remember how to make a Thanksgiving dinner anymore. It was delivered to her home this year, which makes her feel both happy and sad.
Tom is a shuttle driver for a car dealership and faults himself for his own misfortune. He looks back and admits he was lazy and never did what he needed to succeed. It is a hard realization. Now, at 50 years old, his mother drives him to work each day so he won't get robbed on the bus. He needs another paycheck in his pocket to afford a car of his own, though that will have to wait if he needs to buy groceries before the end of the week. His mother still cooks him dinner, which he feels lucky about, because she can make the long day's work melt away with the smell of dinner in her oven.
Jocelyn is a teen who goes home every day to her grandmother's house, where she helps her grandmother prepare the evening meal for her entire family. Her parents live there as well, both on long term disability for various reasons. Her brother was unable to get into the military (as he'd always dreamed of) because of a head injury that caused permanent damage. He helps Jocelyn make dinner from time to time, though he is very messy in the kitchen and she only lets him chop the vegetables.
At the end of each day, these four people all sit down to a meal with their families. They are all from different parts of the world, they all have realities that take courage and strength. And for a short time late each afternoon, the troubles of the day are forgotten. Laughter replaces worry, smiles light up the room. Warm food, uninterrupted time together, and remembering that despite any difficulty, there is much to be thankful for are just a few beautiful details of family dinners.
Share a meal with the people you love. It changes your world.