Years ago, when our children were small, my husband and I decided to do something that seemed so radical to us at the time. We decided that whenever it was humanly possible, we would sit down at the dining table as a family and eat dinner together. When my husband’s schedule didn’t allow him to be home for family dinner time, the children and I would have dinner together at the table, with their father’s place set for him in anticipation of his returning home at any moment.
This became our habit pattern, and a very special time for us as a family. It gave us time to slow down, sit down together, discuss the day’s events, and laugh together. Dinner didn’t have to be fancy. In fact, when the kids were little and my husband was off serving our country, you could expect to see something like macaroni and cheese from a box with ground beef or hot dogs thrown in to bulk it up a bit.
As the children grew (and my culinary expertise improved), family dinners were simply expected. It was just a natural part of who we were and what we did as a family.
Our children are older now and no longer live at home. But when they visit (which is quite frequently), we still sit down at the table together for family dinners. As the years have gone by, we have found ourselves spending more and more time sitting at our dining table (which just happens to be the same table we had when we started our family dinners together). We find ourselves lingering over our meals, and sitting together at the table long after everyone has finished eating. We enjoy our time together at our family dinner.
I hope my kids will continue this tradition when they have families of their own. Neither my husband nor I grew up in homes where family dinners were the norm ~ that’s why it seemed like such a radical idea to us when we first began actually having dinner together at the table, with no distractions. At the very least, my kids will know what to expect when, in the future, they bring their spouses and children to our home.
Family. It’s what’s for dinner.