Since we've moved to Florida, our lives have changed quite a bit. Some things, although they seemed like a curse at first, are now looking a little more like blessings. When we first moved, I refused to sign my kids up for sports. First, I wasn't sure where or how to sign them up. Secondly, I didn't have the money to pay for registration fees and uniforms and such. Also, being new to town, I didn't have any friends with whom to carpool. I wasn't sure how work was going to go and how much time I'd have to devote to a sports schedule, especially with no friends to help me out by getting a kid to practice now and then. I felt like I was depriving my kids by not letting them participate in baseball, football, dance, softball, hockey, etc. But now? I feel a little differently.
The good thing that has come from this is that the seven of us have dinner together every night. I've always made it a priority to come together at the dinner table, but when the kids are involved in activities (even with my one activity per kid rule), we end up catching a lot of meals on the fly which can be less-than-healthy, expensive, and stressful. For the past six months, my kids and I have sat down to a meal together and it's given us the chance to connect in ways we wouldn't have otherwise. In fact, we eat outside on our screened-in porch half the time. We couldn't do that back home in Chicagoland!
Sometimes we share the best and worst parts of our days, but for the teens this generally deteriorates into, "The worst part of my day is playing this game and trying to think of the best and worst parts of my day". More often, we just goof around, tell jokes, talk about silly things that happened during the day, and laugh with each other. It may not make for deep, profound conversations, but it relaxes us, lets us enjoy each other's company, and enables us to simply unwind and laugh while sharing a meal. In fact, just last night, my five-year-old Brooklyn looked at seventeen-year-old Austin and said, "If you were a girl, you'd be pretty."
"Um, thanks, Brooklyn?"
This was followed by a monster burp courtesy of Clayton.
Yeah, we're classy that way. But we have fun together. So, what are your favorite dinnertime traditions? There's an article on Subway's Fresh Takes on Family Time site right now that talks about how one family has a different theme for every week night to make dinnertime fun and give them something to look forward to while waiting for the weekend. Check it out. And while you're there, submit your own fun family traditions for a chance to have your story featured on the site and/or a chance to win a Subway gift card!
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