I am a freak about cooking dinner and eating together. I know, I know call me old-fashioned but I did it growing up and hardly ever remember not eating with all 4 of us around a table. We didn’t linger and I don’t remember any profound discussions but I will tell you this…it was special and it was home. It is a part of who I am and I believe it does something magical in a child’s memory and frankly in this crazy world it is a slice of heaven for us as a family.
So….a little background on my obsession. When I was single with my two kids, dinner around the table was frankly dreadful and sad. The seat sat empty the first year after my husband died. So my precious babysitter and her husband almost ate with us four times a week. We had the same exact thing every Monday night, a pulled rotisserie chicken , I ‘made’ white sauce, pre-packaged mashed potatoes, and canned green beans. It may not have been much but it was ‘home.’ We still talk about our ‘Monday night meals’ and it is burned on all of our brains as beauty in ash.
Then fast forward to 2012 , I sold my house and decided to remodel (aka gut) a home and so we moved in with friends in our life group. They were amazing and so gracious to let three extra humans live in their basement. In exchange for their hospitality and generosity, I cooked dinner every night we were all home.
It was awesome…we loved it and we started a tradition that I really believe your family will love.
I went to speak in Boise, Idaho and in the airport I ran across this cool little box of questions called a Chat Pack. Well, I snatched that box right up and I can honestly say it made our ‘family’ dinners at the Burton’s so fun and really special. We learned a ton about our upstairs hosts and in reality we as adults learned a lot about our precious kids.
And now, we have continued our tradition as a new family of four in Atlanta. There is hardly ever a meal that we sit down that the kids do not remind us (or any guest as well) to ask them questions. Isn’t it how life goes? At the root of every conversation there is a longing in all of us to just be asked. To be asked good questions, to share our dreams, to share our loves, our fears, our silliness. As parents of littles, I love learning and studying my kids. My kids are talkers but the questions prompt amazing discussions and for those of you with teenagers….wow, I can’t imagine what you could get out of them by just asking a great fun interesting question. And…if you need a little help, giddy up and order some Chat Packs. In that little purchase, I am almost certain that my kids will always say they loved dinner because we asked fun questions and we learned more than just the answer….we learned why we love being a family…again.
What are your favorite dinnertime traditions?