Updated: Jan 3
As much as I wish we would, we very rarely sit down for a family meal together at the table. Between the kid's sport schedule and my work schedule it's just too difficult to find a mutually convenient time. What usually happens is the kids eat either very early (before practices) or very late (after practices) and Matt and I end up eating once the kids go to bed on snack-tables in front of the TV. In the name of transparency, I think I could count on one hand the times we've all sat down at the table together.
With the break from school and sports over the holidays, as well as my two weeks off work (you've got to love core leave right?), I've made a conscious effort to have as many meals as possible sitting together at the table. On New Year's Day, the schedules fell together so perfectly that we were able to have not only dinner together at the table, but breakfast and lunch too! Each meal was home cooked; we had pancakes for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and a house favorite, tacos for dinner. I was careful to make sure each meal was electronic free so we had a chance to not only sit down and eat, but also talk and enjoy each other’s company. I didn’t realize how infrequent and precious this time together is, where adults and kids alike aren’t distracted by some form of electronic medium. I used the time to ask about the day, the vacation, New Year's resolutions, and as many other conversation-provoking questions I could think of.
That evening the most rewarding thing happened during dinner when I asked the kids their favorite day of the school break; without any prompting both older boys said, "today." Let me tell you, that day was a day of absolutely nothing; no activities, no plans; heck, the two older boys didn’t even change out of their pajamas; it was just us at home playing games, watching TV, and yes, sitting at the table for all three meals. I was totally taken aback because there had been so many things they could've said, but the more I got to thinking, I found myself sharing their consensus; it really was a great day.
I realize this post isn’t that long and doesn’t have anything groundbreaking to it, but the feeling of happiness and joy I had after realizing that it wasn’t the presents on Christmas morning, or the day we spent in New York City, or even the expensive restaurant dinners; it was simply a day together at home with three simple meals that made its way to the top of the list for not only the kids but for me as well.
Here’s to finding a way to make family dinner both a weeknight and a weekday staple. Stay tuned for updates as I look to conquer the difficult task of juggling schedules and food prep to make this a reality. If anyone has tips or tricks, please drop a line in the comments as I feel this one is going to require all the help I can get.