Thursday, April 4, 2013

Blogging from A to Z: Dinner

Now and again, in various cultural commentary, I will read or hear about The Importance of Family Dinner.   The articles tend to be include something about how important family dinner is, how its demise is indicative of the degradation of society as a whole, how it is a metaphor for all things good and holy, etc.  Heck, eating as a family is even the topic of one of my favorite blogs.  All of this chatter, analysis and pontification used to make me feel a bit puzzled.  Now that I am a parent, that puzzlement has shifted to gratitude.

I was puzzled because all my life, I had assumed that everyone ate dinner as a family.  After all, my parents both worked, my sister and I both extra-curriculared1, and yet very nearly every night, there we sat, together, always in the same positions, at the family dinner table.  At times, room was made for a friend or two or three.  One time, half the youth group knocked on the door around six o'clock and somehow, loaves and fishes style2, my mom found enough family dinner to feed the whole crew.

I am sure we complained about the food from time to time3, and there was a memorable period where my sister boycotted pretty much anything in favorite of cheese quesadillas that she made herself in the microwave.   During certain periods of adolescent/parental conflict4, there wasn't much to be said.  And yet, no matter the extenuating circumstances, there we were, at the table5, eating together as a family.  I just assumed that everyone else was doing the same.

I know now that this is not the case.  Family dinners don't just magically happen because you are a family and you have to eat.  My parents made it happen, night after night, for 20 years or more6.  And now my husband and I make it happen nightly as well, despite fussy babies, long work days and one very demanding two-year-old7.

Because eating as a family was important to my parents, it is second nature to me.  For this gift, handed down through the generations as it has been, I am filled with gratitude. 

1 Yes, I made that word up just now.
2 See The Gospel According to Mark, Chapter 6, Verses 41-44
3 I still maintain that Salisbury steak is not meant for human consumption.
4 I believe this included most of 1996 
5 Except on Sundays, when we would eat homemade pizza in the family room watching either Top Gun or League of their Own
6 Actually, a lot more, because I happen to know that my parents still eat dinner together nightly.  And they've been married for 34 years now.  That's a lot of dinners. 
7  I suppose calling him demanding is redundant.  I hear they're all like that. 

Keep reading to see who else is blogging from A to Z!



  1. Marvelous blog, and thanks or perhaps you're welcome

  2. Some nights at 5:00 so we could get to softball or choir concert (now clay class or pool league). Some nights at 7:00 after cheerleading practice or badminton (or a late meeting). You can make it work, even for 34 years.