Times have changed as far as what is considered the normal family dinner, but whatever your family does, this is a daily trsdition. Some families opt for the sit down family style dinner, where everyone is at the table, and you eat together. As a kid and still sometimes, such as lunch at my mom’s house, this was how we ate. The meal was prepared and when it was ready, we all came to the table, prayed over our food, and ate together. We always had good conversation, and an ocassional debate between my dad and me, and when everyone was finished eating, we gave thanks for the meal, and left the table to begin the clean up. It was a dinner tradition that has largely become a thing of the past for most families, including my own for the most part. It is mostly because people don’t have time enough to sit for an hour or more to eat and talk about their day…a sad fact that has come about because of our hectic lifestyles.
As families grow, sometimes they simply outgrow the table, or at least they do if friends and family come over for holiday dinners and such. At this time you have to be a little bit innovative in order to make things go smoothly at dinnertime. It was at this point that many families adopted the idea of the kid’s table. The kid’s table is just what it sounds like. It is usually a coffee table or other small, and usually too low for the adults to possibly be comfortable, table that the kids can adapt to easily. The cool thing is that, for a little while anyway…until the kids decide that they don’t really want to be considered the kids anymore, and they want to be at the adults table, this set up allows the adults to talk easily, and without all the noise that always resides at the kid’s table. It can, however, be a big problem, when the kids want to move up, because they can’t really add to the conversation in exactly the way they thought, so it just creates problems. Sometimes…if you ask me, the kids don’t know how cool it is to be at the kid’s table. Some even opt to go back there…shock!!
Of course, as many of us know, sometimes it is almost impossible to have any kind of a sit down dinner at all. The kids are rushing out to work and dates, and there is always some game or show on television. For many people, they have to get to the gym, or in our case, our on the trail for a walk…after visiting my mother-in-law at the nursing home, of course. There is just so much to do and so little time. For Bob and me, that often means eating separately, and on the run. Since he gets off earlier than I do, he has already eaten, so we can rush to the nursing home and back in time to walk. I might have a sandwich in the car on the way to the nursing home, I know it’s odd, but it works for us these days. And on the opposite side of that coin, is the kid who gets off work after dinner is already over. There is just no choice but to check out the table to see what might be left over, in the hope that they don’t have to make something for themselves. The traditional family dinner is probably a thing of the past for most of us, and has been replaced by a new tradition…whatever works for your family.
The rush is over, the gifts given, dinner is over, and for most of us…it’s back to work. In many ways, that comes as a relief to me because there are just times that you need to go back to work to rest up. And some holidays are worse than others, some years worse than others. There are some times when you feel like everything went so smoothly that you wish the day would not end so quickly. Then, there are those when you think, “Are we done yet?” The headache won’t go away, and you are so tired you can’t walk another step. Holidays when you think to yourself, “Why am I doing this again? Oh, that’s right, It’s for the kids.” And that is really is true, I think…or is it still that kid inside us all.
Even if the actual holiday or even the days leading up to it are hectic, we still find ourselves excited for it’s arrival. The gifts have been bought, and it is our hope that the person we bought them for will be very excited about our choices. We have planned the meal and with our mouth watering, we anticipate meal time’s arrival. After the meal, we are almost…or maybe we just are…too tired to even think of the cleanup, and secretly we hope that someone else will clean it up for us…but of course, they don’t. There is no cleaning fairy to do it. It’s up to you.
We drag ourselves to bed that night and think, “I’ll clean up tomorrow.” Then tomorrow arrives, and we wish that we had cleaned up last night, because we don’t feel any more like doing it today than we did yesterday. In fact, the looming cleanup job makes us tired all over. So we head off to work and hope that with enough coffee, we can somehow find the energy to get the job done when we get home. I don’t know about you, but, that day after a holiday is one tough day to swallow, so I’m sure glad that I have lots of help with it these days, and that there is very little clean up left for that day after.