Which is too bad. At the dinner table, one gets more than just a snapshot of the family dynamic. One also gets the chance to model some small portion of the marriage vows. In good times and bad? Try having a civil meal with the spouse to whom you're not speaking. For richer or poorer? When the taxes are due, it's eggs for dinner. A new client needed rush work and I could charge double? Steaks all around.
When you sit across the table from your spouse every single night and talk and ask about one another's day, and sometimes even put your hand in his and lock eyes and silently smile over something your kid just said, that's a powerful message. And it's just as powerful when you hurl an invective, or even when you just stay silent.
The dinner table is where we are at our best—laughing, confiding, worrying, talking and, yes, sometimes arguing. I'm not campaigning for any medals; we're not family of the year. Studies aside (and some say the studies should be put aside), we eat together because we like to. It's an anchor in our day, the place where we find our family's heart.
My kids tell me that when they tell other kids about our routine, the reaction is astonishment, which makes me sad and, I'll admit, a little proud. When my husband is running really late and I know the boys are hungry, I'll ask if they want to go ahead and eat. "Nah, let's wait for Dad," they usually say. Nowadays, each boy is required to prepare a meal one night a week. The 12-year-old, trying hard to get the burgers, beans and salad all ready at the same time, once remarked, "Dinner is not as easy as it looks." It's not. Some nights I want to skulk off with a burrito and eat alone, paging through People with CNN in the background. I imagine everyone else wants to do the same sometimes. But we don't. We eat, there's love and, when Aunt Cathy visits, we even pray. 3 Zen Ways To Keep Connected After Having Kids
Lisa Romeo eats with her family in New Jersey.