When 4:30 PM rolls around our house can get a little chaotic. The boys and I are spending our last minutes outside playing with rocks and bikes so that I can go in to make dinner. Nick gets home around 4:45 PM and I like to have the house somewhat put together so that he is not bombarded with a house that resembles something like Toys-R-Us. Nick will usually try to get a workout in a few times a week while I finish up dinner and the days he doesn't workout he will entertain the boys for me before we eat.
With all that can be going on between 4:30-5:30 PM, the most important thing to us is that we all end up at the table together. Eating at the dinner table is not always glamorous. Nick and I are always moving about: getting up to get another fork, picking up a spilled sippy cup, or getting another plate of food for the kids. But through all of this we are all together. In the middle of the voices and distractions of all four of us is a tradition and family memory being created each day. We try to always do family devotions and say a prayer at dinner time (and no it does not always happen). We all try to get a summary of how each other's day was, but that does not always happen. But it's at the table where we all get to love on one another without devices or toys or any distractions in our way.
As a kid growing up with a single mother and two sisters we were always busy. And despite the fact that our lives were always going full throttle my mom always made it a big deal to end the day at the table together, sharing a meal. Since it was so habitual and enjoyable to me growing up I wanted the same to be had and shared with my own family.
My boys are routine kids just like me. So you can count on it that everyday at around 5/5:30 PM Max is pulling on his high chair to come eat dinner. Calvin is always excited to ask Nick "So how's your day, Dad?" and we get to enjoy this special time together. My meals are not Pinterest worthy and sometimes there is a lot of commotion and all of us talking at one time but we love this time.
I want to encourage you to make dinner or breakfast or lunch into a special time for your family. I know a lot of you have different work and family schedules, but I promise you that making family time around the table a priority is not something you will ever regret. Your kids will love the time spent together with you, no matter how short or long it may be.
As the kids grow older and their ability to converse grows stronger, the bond that you have will only grow sweeter. To this day when my sisters, mom, Nick, and the boys are all eating together around the table we are always filled with love and gratitude (and food!).
The dinner table might just look like a table, but around it are often the best memories.
Does your family have a time of day that you spend together around the table? Do your kids look forward to meal time together? What is your favorite dinner or drink to enjoy with your family?