Family meals at the table can be difficult to come by. Even in our small family of three, there are nights when schedules get in the way of sitting down together to share a meal and talk about our day. I try to make this a priority whenever it is possible.
But sometimes we like to have our meals in front of the television. Maybe it’s a special movie night. Maybe we are tired and don’t feel like participating in any more conversation that day, maybe there is a television program that interests all of us that falls around the dinner hour.
Tonight I made my daughter’s favorite, chicken parmigiana (Or cheesy chicken as we have been known to call it). Tomorrow she leaves for a 3 day, 2 night school trip. So when dinner was ready, I gave her the choice of eating at the table or in front of the tv, knowing she’d be without screen time in the coming days.
To my surprise, she chose the table. She wanted to talk about her day, and hear about ours. My heart was full. We laughed together, told some stories about dissecting frogs and worms, and figured out the meaning of ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’. After dinner, we packed her bags for her coming adventure. We ended our evening with me snuggled beside her to read the beginning of a book I’ve been trying to get her to read on her own.
Dinner at the table set the tone for the rest of our evening together. The coming together in conversation and the slowing down for part of our day led us to laughter, smiles and discovery.
I think I need more of these times in my day. When else can I ‘come to the table’ with others? To celebrate, reflect, and discover? How can I be better at inviting people ‘to the table’? What ‘favorite meal’ might convince them to join me?
Maybe it will be you. Will you join me at the table?