Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dinnertime

It dawned on me thee other day; actually it is always on my mind. I went to a Mom’s Night Out last night, which is a potluck meal for us, homeschooling moms to be able to get together and just let it all hang out.

We talk about our children, our past experiences, listen to thee more experienced moms, compare notes on schooling, get ideas from other moms, see what works for them…or not. But it is just a night to be women, not a wife, not a mother, not a facilitator…just a woman.

For those of you who do not homeschool, or know little about it, let me tell you getting out even if it is once a month to be with your peers is a blessing. Our kids go to co-ops, Sunday School, Scouts, 4-H and so forth. But us moms, we are living a life of servitude. That is not to say we are unhappy with our choice, it is what it is, but in order to be a better wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter…we need to clear our minds and just be us. Then we can come back to be those better people. I know how refreshed I feel after hanging out with my posse.

But the one thing we talked about as our lovely night ended was dinner-time. I was curious as to how many of the women there sat down with their families and ate dinner. No surprise, all of them sat down with their families for dinner. Sometimes there was a sibling missing, or a dad had to work late, but those that were home sat together.

I grew up in a home where my mother had dinner on the table by a certain time. If you were not there, you could always make a bologna sandwich. My mom figured, if she took the time to prepare a meal, you could at least show up to eat it, and truth be told, she was right. Even back then, I knew thee importance of dinnertime. Now granted our home was anything but the Cleaver family, but I still got it.

I have carried on that tradition, but have taken it a step further. We sit and talk, and talk, and talk. Did I mention that we talk? We have sat and been at the dinner table for close to an hour, and that is without dessert. There was a woman there last night.*Waves to C Mc, and her husband is a pilot, and he gets to fly with many a people. But there was this man from France who talked about dinner rituals in his home country, and he said as politely as possible that our dinner practices are pitiful and that we are missing out on so much.

In Europe, for the most part, thee taking on the dining experience like no other. Their dinner time can last for up to two hours. Helllooo, it doesn’t take me that long to prepare my meal…OK sometimes it does, but then again I love food and everything that revolves around it. So for me to sit at a dinner table for that long would be pure ecstasy. We, as Americans, have no clue how to enjoy food. To us, a dinner is a double cheese burger with a side of fries and a large cola, hold thee onions at the nearest drive –thru. And many a time the so called meal is eaten in the vehicle. When did our cars become our dining rooms? Did I miss something?

I am not saying the every family in America has to become this Norman Rockwell painting overnight, but come on, where has our sense of family gone? And I am not so gullible to think that sitting down at dinner will right all we have let go over the years, but it is an easy way to start. We have to eat, that is a given. Then why not do it with your own family. Take time to reconnect and be a real family. And just for you cheater out there, sitting in front of the TV does not count, you have to do it at the dinner table. Talking to one another and not about the latest episode of CSI is the way to do it.

6 comments:

fitncrafty said...

Red. I am with you, and you know I posted about the family dinner table a few days ago...
The family table isn't just about the food, which is where I think we get our problems from, eating in our cars.. we get no feeling of satiety and then need to eat more.
I enjoyed your post! thanks

William Cooney said...

Great post, Red. I've often heard it said that Americans are sometimes too busy to find the time for a consistent, family-oriented, eating experience. Sounds like BS to me. Plainly, it is priorities. Refocusing on family for the precious ritual of dining together would put things into perspective.

The only caveat I would offer is that leaders (usually the parents) must make certain that each attendant is made to feel their presence is important and is for the purpose of achieving some intimacy. Most would take this for granted, but my experience tells me this is not always the case.

Red said...

Fit, it was your post and what I posted about(Being at our moms night thingy) that got me to thinking, and wondered who out there in my myriad of readers, actually eats together as a family...at the dining table.

Bill, I wish you could be at one of our dinners. Not only can I cook(For I have a passion about and for food), but I know that it is definitely not only about the food, but about the company and thee experience of dining. For us at least, it is one our best times of the day.

I harken to the movie Chocolat. The one where the woman has a chocolate store. To me that encompasses how we should treat food. There is a scene where she made a special Birthday dinner for a character(Portrayed by Judi Dench) and the way that scene was filmed was nearly obscene(Not in that manner). But again, it gives us an insight as to how meals are observed over in Europe and should be observed her. I know we do in this house!!

Lonely Heart said...

Eating together is a sign of community. Sitting down to a family meal is important. It brings everyone closer together and makes the bonds between you stronger.

It is sad that America's version of a family dinner is something from a fast food restaurant more or less. America stresses the individual rather than the community or family unit. Where does the family come in? It's not that hard to sit around a table for 30 minutes.

Great post!

sophie~chan said...

Oh ok. How old is your daughter? AND IS HEROS A GOOD SHOW?

FatcatPaulanne said...

We have gotten away and from this and I'm trying to get us back into the habit. We need to find somewhere besides the kitchen table to store all our current homeschool stuff too.