Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Dinner Table

Is supper ready yet? Is Daddy home yet? Are we having chicken pot pie again? I only want milk and crackers for dinner. Some nights I just smile and say yes, no, not yet, you're right, I don't think so, just a few more minutes. Other nights I just throw up my hands and say, let's go get a sub.
Dinner is every mom's joy and pain. At first you're happy that you are making a meal for your family to sit down and enjoy. Then you're kinda grumpy because you know it will be eaten and everyone will scram with a big mess for you to clean up--in less time than it took you to make it. Sometimes you're so hungry yourself that your mood takes a nose dive with your blood sugar and you burn the biscuits, curse as you burn your finger, slam it all down, and glare at everyone daring them to do anything but eat it anyway. Then there are the nights when it all goes to plan. Everything turns out great. You even get the kitchen half way cleaned up before you sit down. The baby and the toddler eat what you've made and your husband tells you how much he likes everything.
Dinner is my favorite meal. It has always been very important to me. I believe every family should sit down to a meal together. Pick one--breakfast, lunch, or dinner. There is something comforting about breaking bread together that loosens the tongue, soothes the hunger (both real and imagined), and generally makes everyone feel they are safe. When I was growing up my mother chose dinner as the main meal. We would wait for my dad most nights. Then as we got busier and busier, my mom chose breakfast as our main meal.
My husband doesn't eat breakfast. He just chooses not to. So dinner is our main meal. I eat breakfast with the kids, but I try for us all to sit down to dinner at least a couple of times a week. Granted the children are small and can't always wait. There are many nights when my husband isn't going to make it in time. Regardless of these stumbling blocks (and countless others), I continue to try to make dinner a family affair.
I know this choice will only get harder as our family gets older. Perhaps dinner will become a pipe dream once everyone is driving. I know that monitoring my blood sugar so it doesn't take a nosedive at five will only get harder as I get older. I know that nobody will call me no matter how many times I ask for people to be on time, or to call me ahead of time if they're going to be late. I know that I'm not going to stop the calls that come 10 minutes after dinner is already ready saying that they're late. But I'm not going to stop making dinner and it's not going to stop being a family affair. Attendance is compulsory until you leave this home for every man, woman and child, period. And that's all I have to say about that.

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