When my kids were little, we’d have family dinners every night because Ted and I knew they were important for building a strong sense of family. But now that they are almost all grown up and are busy running everywhere–and with two leaving for college in the fall–family dinners have become treasured events and we do them as often as we can because we know they are still important for us as a family.
Last night at supper we gagged together on the cole slaw I bought ready-made from the grocery store (yes, a lazy move on my part). We reminisced over favorite high school teachers. We admired Cristi’s new glasses, watched Holli pick at the ravioli, and laughed at yet another of TJ’s ridiculous bald jokes.
Every day, I hear the inevitable question, “what’s for dinner?” I could serve macaroni and cheese, scrambled eggs, or a fine london broil steak–the entre is irrelevant because no matter what is served, the conversation–although not always pleasant–will still flow.
Sometimes we fight, sometimes we laugh til we cry. It does not actually matter what our conversation is, how profound it may or may not be. What matters is that we are all sitting and looking at each other; listening to each other without a laptop open in front of us, a cell phone in hand, or a tv blaring at us. We come together from all corners of our worlds: weightroom workouts, work, basketball practices, volleyball games, football practices, movies with friends–the list of events that fragment our family is never-ending. In the midst of this craziness, family dinners are an oasis of connection. And the older my kids get and the longer their travels away from home, the more I will treasure those moments together around the dinner table.
No matter how mundane the meal, family dinners do more than sustain our bodies; they strengthen our sense of family and that sense of family is what goes with our children as they head out into the world, giving them a foundation of love and support that will help throughout their lives. It’s not about serving up the perfect gourmet meal; it’s about serving up love and making memories as a family.
Now, will you excuse me while I go fix supper?