I probably shouldn't make such a big deal about it, but I do. Family Dinners are super important to me.
It has nothing to do with surveys or statistics. Although statistics are on the side of regular family dinners for keeping families connected and eating well.
Family Dinners are kind of sacred around here.
Confession: I don't always cook Cuban. But I do cook a lot. And there are always vegetables and salads and lots of variety in the main dishes, although we're mostly unapologetic carnivores.
My rules are that 1) dinner must be delicious and 2) phones must be off. The exception to the turning-off-phone rule is that you may take photos of your food, and you may even Instagram it, which everyone knows is why God gave us smart phones.
I know the Family Dinner thing is hopelessly old-fashioned. But as everyone has gotten busier, it seems to be the only place where we consistently connect and share as a family. I miss not having my older kids here as much, as they've gotten on with their busy lives. But when they are here we make it a point to have a feast.
In the interest of full disclosure, we also order pizza and take out Chinese food. But even then, we sit at our places and slow down enough to spend time together. Did I tell you that everyone has their own place at the table? (I know. Shut up.)
Ironically, yesterday, as I was working on this post, I had a terrible fibro episode. I did not even make dinner and every man was on his own. Those times make me glad that we have so many everybody-sit-down-together type meals. The free-for-all is much more the exception, rather than the rule.
I think the need to feed people and have them around the table comes from my happiest memories of my Cuban childhood. The Family Table was sacred. There was always lively conversation and delicious food. I wish we had more moments like this in our lives. This is why I've become so intentional in making Dinner Time so important.
In the Movie of My Life, most of the scenes and family exchanges will take place around the dinner table. In that silver-screen-fantasy there will also be someone else who cleans up after the meal, but that's not important right now.
When I see the faces of the ones I love best as they laugh and share and we listen to the stories about who said what and how their days went, there's no question that this is a good and solid tradition.
The only question left is: "What's for dessert?"