I’m an idealist. In my mind everything is beautiful and lovely and storybook perfect. I mean, who doesn’t want that?
Let’s talk dinnertime, for example. It has always been a goal that we sit down as a family in the evening and eat a meal together. I mean we’ve all heard the statistics, right?
Eating dinner together:
- Instills the importance of good nutrition in kids.
- Teaches children about proper behavior.
- Creates a symbol of love, connection, and communication among family members.
- Provides quality time for the whole family.
- Leads to kids who have better grades, less depression, and are less likely to use drugs and alcohol.
. . . . . . to name a few.
Confession: Dinnertime in our household is less than ideal.
Each day I set the table for 4 and prepare a meal (or reheat leftovers) to have on the table when C. gets home. He enters and quickly greets the kids and I look forward to sitting around the table together. However, it never goes quite as planned. A prayer is said, forks are picked up and the adventure begins. Charlie has to go to the bathroom, Chanelle drops her napkin, Charlie decides that dinnertime is a time that his voice raises several decibels, Chanelle would like to share her rendition of “You are my Sunshine”, someone needs mustard, bbq sauce, pepper, another fork because they dropped their original. . . the list goes on and on.
I would like to know who came up with these statistics and what the stats are on married couples through these dinners. Sometimes, C. and I just take slow, deep breaths as we look at each other just wishing the kids would eat their food and we could end this ordeal for the night. I find dinnertime to be the most exhausting time of our day together. Rather than relishing these moments, I am just surviving them. I wonder if this will change as the kids get older. I don’t want to wish these moments away, but I will acknowledge that our meal time does not look like the Cleavers.
You know what’s funny, though? Each night I am ready to try it again. It’s like after I had Charlie people told me that you quickly forget the pain of the labor and delivery as you experience the joy of your new arrival. Similarly, I seem to forget the chaos of the night before and look with expectation to a new dinnertime with our little family. Who knows? Maybe if I keep at it our mealtimes will be calm, peaceful, and real connecting times for us.
And maybe they won’t. For now, though, I am committed to keep trying it and trusting that somewhere in the midst of all the chaos. . . we are making memories.