I didn’t grow up eating dinner every night around the kitchen table with my family and neither did my husband. It wasn’t stressed so much and we don’t seem to have the closeness now with our siblings as we would like.
Maybe that is why we are so adamant about making sure that every night we eat dinner with our kids. We learn so much about them just by this one simple meal. Who knew that this dented and finger-paint stained piece of wood in the center of our kitchen would be the circle that we connect, find comfort and joy every day? It actually teaches our children life lessons that hopefully they’ll remember forever.
Around this table, we open up and share our highs and lows of the day. We laugh at ourselves and learn the importance of not taking yourself so seriously (mainly because we joke our kids – ALOT). We learn empathy at the table. We can tell when one of us is a little tired or stressed. We reach out to see if everything is okay.
We laugh and laugh and laugh and then laugh some more. Our dinner table is where we allow Jack to cultivate his sharp tongue and where we get to hear Mollie’s sweet stories. It’s where we learned that Maggie had an unusual ability to cross her eyes and put macaroni noodles up her nose like a walrus (she was two years old when we learned this). It’s were we give thanks everyday and discuss issues that may be a hot topic at school. We give each other comfort and so does our kitchen table.
During the school year, sometimes we eat like Europeans because the kids get home so late from practices. Even if it is 8:30 pm, we still sit down together and share this time. Once in while (okay about three nights a week), we don’t do the dishes because it’s so late and we must head to bed. These moments won’t last forever but the dishes can wait. Some nights, we are evil parents and make them do the dishes. (That is a fun experience to watch.)
We learned long ago that you must give up the picture perfect family life in order to have the family perfect for your pictures. You know those pictures. They aren’t the ones you hang on the wall but the ones you hang on your heart.