We have a couple of rules at our dinner table:
- No books. (I know... I know.....) This rule is sometimes suspended on leftover night, because I just can't face leftovers unless I'm distracted.
- We use our good manners.
- No TV.
- You have to try everything, even if you think you won't like it.
My girls are great about three out of four of these rules. Occasionally Abby makes fart jokes or shows her sister her chewed up food. Sometimes Molly pokes Abby under the table and starts a fight. But for the most part, we have a civilized dinner and we TALK! I love hearing about what my girls learned that day - they know "nothing" is not an acceptable answer. We share our favorite parts of the day and describe a problem we each had to solve. I like to think that when we sit down to a family dinner, whether it's in our home or at a restaurant, Dan and I are reinforcing for our girls how much they mean to us and how much we value what they have to say. I know I'm teaching them how to have conversations and how to dine in polite company that will serve them well in their futures.
This school year is the first time that we will not eat together TWO nights of the week. Because of Molly's dance schedule, she must eat either before the rest of the family or after. When this happens, I sit with her at the table, sometimes with my dessert, to talk to her so she doesn't have to eat alone. I don't want her to feel left out of this important family time. I'm sad that her busy schedule has interrupted our family dinners so soon... I was hoping to make it to high school, but I'm not in charge of the Y's dance schedule.
I keep telling myself that the other five nights of the week, I have my family around me, usually not complaining about dinner, sharing our trials and triumphs and just enjoying being a family.
I'm pretty lucky.