Thursday, September 15, 2011

Six o'clock dinner and dusty TV trays...

Well, she's gone.  My eldest child has left for college 2500 miles away.  It has been an emotional week.
I have reflected over the past month about things I could have, or should have, done differently with regard to raising her.  There are things which I regret.  I have shed some tears over a few things I messed up on.  And there are things which I know I did right.  One of those is family dinner.

This was my rule: we sit down as a family every night for dinner, around the table.  We talk about our day, discuss our upcoming week and connect.  I expected everyone to be there; most of the time, they were.  Of course there was always soccer season, or Tae Kwon Do, or night classes.  We sometimes had to switch around.  But I knew that at least for those few moments each day, we would all be together.  I cherish that time.  The TV trays never got used.  In fact they're so dusty, I should just get rid of them, lol.  The empty chair at the table doesn't make me quite as sad because I have those six o'clock dinner memories.

During times when we had a baby, we enjoyed watching the little one try new foods and give those priceless expressions.  Everyone took turns with the toddlers, trying to get them to try whatever green vegetable they were refusing.  We laughed, we told stories, we had seconds and thirds.  We watched as K would build these intracate dioramas made from mashed potatoes and whatever else we were having.  They were truly works of art!  Roo, my other daughter, would take great pains to make sure her food didn't touch each other.  My son Bear (obviously these are nicknames) has a thing for germs.  This seemed to always come up at dinner, when one of the little kids would try to drink from his cup.  I think they were just messing with him.  *smiles*

I know that having dinner together every night as a family can be a complicated, choreographed dance at times, with everyone's schedule to consider.  But having just raised a child to adulthood, we need those dinners.  We need that time.  We need the comfort coming together and breaking bread can bring.  Don't be too busy.  Be available.  Make family dinner a priority; you won't regret it.

I love you K.