(photo credit: American Dinner, 1946 by Todd Ehlers on flickr.com. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode.)
I miss the days when dinner was the time, every day, when our family put aside our external lives and were together. It didn’t matter if I cooked a three-course meal or we ordered pizza, we sat at the dining room table and talked and ate and laughed. Just like in the movies. Except we weren’t quite as pretty as movie people and our conversations did not always flow or move the plot along.
As the kids grew, we had to work around away games and play practices and eventually, weekends became a free-for-all as far as dinner was concerned. Summers have always been harder than the rest of the year because the kids’ routines change and there is more freedom for them to make plans with friends. Even taking that into consideration, at least three or four nights every week, our family still managed to come together to eat and reconnect with one another.
This summer, though, the family meal has dwindled down to one maybe two times a week. If we’re lucky. Daughter #1 usually works until 7:30 pm, doesn’t get home until close to 8:00 pm, if she hasn’t made plans with friends. Daughter #2 has something to do almost every night of the week: sailing practice or racing, dinner with a school friend, some sailing club related activity where she has to work, bonfires on the beach. And that is when she and my husband are not traveling out of state for 3-4 day regattas. I believe she’s signed up for six of those this summer.
Right now, it is 6:45 pm on a Wednesday evening, and I haven’t begun to think about what I am going to eat. Just me and the dog at home.
A lot of people eat cereal or cheese and crackers when they are alone for dinner, but I’m not a huge cereal lover and I like a meal. I like something with protein and carbohydrates and fats. Something that’ll fill me up.
I know from experience that if I wait much longer to decide what to eat, I’ll end up diving into comfort food, perhaps skipping the meal altogether and going straight to something sweet and fattening and wholly lacking in nutrition. Or order out, which basically ends up being unhealthy food with a price tag attached. But I’m so uninspired about food when I’ve already made myself breakfast and lunch and eaten both of those meals also alone.
It’s well documented in this blog that I love my time alone. Let me put it out there that dinner is not one of those times.
Well, enough grumping. It isn’t as bad as I make it sound. And if it gets to be too much, I always can call a friend to join me for a meal. It isn’t the same as being with my husband and kids, but it often is just as good.
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