We know times are tough – if you don’t know that, you may be stuck under something heavy and you need to come on out and get some air. Times have been tough for the Calandro Clan before: the toughest was when M1 was born in 1999: we went down to one income and the LOML had gone back to school to get his Masters. It wasn’t pretty around here, just like it’s pretty ugly in a lot of places right now.
Out of this difficult time, we created a wonderful family tradition: Friday Night Pizza Night. It all began when the LOML got a bread maker for Christmas. (That year I got a jigsaw – we’re not real big on gender specific roles here in the Calandro Clan.) Anyway, we started making our own pizza dough with the bread maker and it was better than any dough we could purchase. We started making pizza on Fridays because it gave us something to look forward to as a family every week. Everything came to a screeching halt for Pizza Night. We got a movie from the library (because it was free), got a bottle of two-buck-chuck (do the math), and made our own pizza for a fraction of what it would have cost us to get it delivered to our door. All our other meals are consumed at our kitchen table, but Pizza Night happens in front of the TV. This distinction makes it very special and something for our family to look forward to.
Our three boys know it as the benchmark of the week. M3, our youngest, doesn’t know the days of the week yet and will ask all week long, “Is it Pizza Night?” He lets out a big,”Hooray!” when we finally answer yes to his question. Our extended family knows about Pizza Night and will schedule visits to either be a part of the tradition or avoid disrupting it. Friends honor it and love being a part of it. Some friends get “Pizza Night Cravings” and call us up when they need a fix. Family and friends are always welcome and as we say in the Calandro Clan: once you’ve been here for Pizza Night, you’re family.
Through the years, pizza night became “Pizza Night” with initial caps because it deserved that status. The technology we use to create it has morphed from a small TV and a VCR to a huge, awesome plasma and blu-ray player we won from Panasonic. But no matter what we use to watch our movie for Pizza Night, the foundation of the tradition hasn’t changed. It gives us the opportunity to come together as a family and mark the passing of time. We celebrate with family and friends depending on what is happening for all of us. It is grounding to have a tradition every week our children can rely on, no matter what. We hope our boys will grow up and remember Pizza Night on Fridays. We hope they know how much we love this tradition and how much we enjoy creating it each week with them.
If you’re ever on the Central Coast on a Friday night, you probably won’t see us downtown at the local movie theater. You’ll see us at our own home, munching on home-made pizza, watching a movie, thinking about how good it is to be a Calandro. Heck, let us know you’re in town, and you may even be invited to attend. And then, as I mentioned before, you won’t just be a stranger passing through town, you’ll be family.
*This post is inspired by an earlier post on our other blog: calandroslihd.blogspot.com