When you’re the parent of small children, there’s really not much point to “weekends.” You don’t get to go out on Friday night, you don’t get to sleep in.
Maybe you don’t have to go into work — but in its place is a mountain of laundry, a sink full of dishes, a carpet full of Cheerios and a everything else that had been placed on the back burner Monday through Friday.
I was rudely awakened at 6:30 Saturday morning to my 4-year-old son Ben begging to go outside and play.
But, I was up. And so the day begins …
I started with my usual morning routine: get the baby (Sam) up, diapers changed, milk poured, laundry going and the kids both dressed before I activate my television/babysitter/technological god-send (don’t judge) so I can grab a shower and get dressed myself. I let my husband sleep-in. Because I’m cool like that.
Once I’m moving, I make breakfast for the boys, typically oatmeal. But this morning I was kind of hungry myself and because I don’t care for oatmeal I decided to go a different route …
I tossed both kids into the car and we headed to the grocery store where I picked up the usual breakfast staples. Once home, I turned on some music and let the kids turn my mixing bowls into drum-sets as I set about cooking.
I went to town.
The smell of bacon frying awakened my husband and he brewed up a pot of coffee while I set the table.
And then, an amazing thing happened: we sat at my dining room table and ate together as a family. Eggs, turkey bacon and sausage, biscuits and hash browns with milk, coffee and orange juice.
As we sat around that table, it occurred to me that we had never done this before — not since Sam was born — and I find myself wondering why.
Growing up in my family, dinner was served at the table. At the dining room table. Breakfast was usually in the kitchen and lunch tended to be a bit haphazard but dinner? Come sundown, your butt better be home and in that chair.
There was no TV trays, there was no being late and there was no excuses. You were home, your hands were washed and you ate as a family — no TV and no phone calls — but your friends were always welcome to join.
I didn’t realize until we sat down for that breakfast how much I had missed eating together as a family.
Of course, it wasn’t exactly a scene out of a Norman Rockwell painting: Sam probably threw more eggs on the floor than he ate and Ben was constantly under the table to retrieve his spoon that he had “dropped.”
But I didn’t care, I had this warm, fuzzy, family feeling going on all day after that meal. So, why not make it a thing?
When Jon and I were first married we had a Shabbos meal every week — a tradition we continued for several years — and it was wonderful. A candlelit dinner every Friday, complete with a full meal and freshly baked challah? What’s not to love?
But gradually it became more and more sporadic: I took the job at the paper and had to shoot football games on Fridays, the kids needed baths and had to get to bed …
I can’t tell you the last time we lit the candles, but I think that’s about to change.
If something is important to you, you make time for it, right? I think so.
I want my boys to grow up remembering family dinners and they’re both young enough that if I start now, they’ll never know anything different.
I have a beautiful dining room table, it’s time I started using it for more than just folding laundry.
Kasie Strickland is a staff writer for The Easley Progress and The Pickens Sentinel and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.