As the hustle and the bustle of the holiday season comes to a close, I have recently discovered the best gift I have given my family.
It wasn’t found under a decorated Christmas tree. It wasn’t wrapped with a huge bow on top. And it wasn’t in the form of money or a material item.
We have turned the television off, moved the TV trays out of the way and started having family dinner together again. The dinner table, which was a hand-me-down from my husband’s grandparents, has seen its share of family dinners from generations before us. But now it is the center of our own family’s supper time.
With so many activities and other obligations constantly pulling at every family member, it became super easy to just grab a plate and plop down in the living room in front of the television. Our meals are almost rushed through to the point that eating is even a scheduled event.
In an effort to work on one of my new year resolutions, I decided to start having supper at the table with no phones, no electronics, nothing. It is just a table with plates of food and each other.
At first, I thought there would be resistance. But I was surprised when our three kids seemed excited about the idea. They were practically begging for it.
That made me even feel guilty for a moment. The simple act of eating together was so happily accepted from our kids that I felt bad for not noticing it before.
For the past several suppers, we have all five at together around the family table. We pray together, eat together, laugh together, and yes, even settle a few arguments at times. We also started a deal where we go around the table and each person shares the best moment from their day. It made me feel like my husband Jason and I were doing something right when they reply, “eating like this.”
I would love to tell you that every supper goes off with no problems and that we gather around the fire afterwards and exist in harmony. Some nights are good, but there are some nights that arguments have to be diffused and time-outs are distributed. But I think we are on the right, and even normal, track.
Looking through old family photographs, I notice there is a trend of my ancestors gathering together on the front porch with instruments. There are a few photographs of quilting parties. I know that some of those activities are long gone, but the concept is still there. There is a gathering of the family.
This is a tradition that I hope to continue with my family. I know there will be days when a quick bite to eat in the car on the way to a sport game will have to do. But I am going to sincerely try harder when it comes to a moment of togetherness at the end of the way.
It is my hope that our kids will remember the times around that table. I hope they remember the warm food, the laughter, the gratitude of “the best moment,” the prayers and being surrounded by family.
And just maybe that warmth they feel isn’t coming from the food but rather the moment.