My husband has been out-of-town since Tuesday. Chad has had a basketball game or a practice for four evenings in a row (definitely out of the ordinary!). Consequently, CJ, Chad and I have not once been able to sit down face to face and enjoy a family meal together this week. I share this, not as a recommendation, but a reality.
On occasion, there will be days or even a week when family meals do not happen. Granted, we should work hard to make this a rare experience rather than the usual. But if a family-meal-lapse should occur in your home, don’t be discouraged or give up. A brief departure from the norm won’t destroy the big picture.
And let me mention one more important point. Even when family mealtimes are consistent, they are never perfect. I appreciate one author’s perspective:
If you have an image of some ideal supper in mind, the only thing you can be certain of is that tonight’s will not measure up. Still, something will happen. The surface will look shaggy, but underneath, over time, a form begins to take shape. Some type of ritual will grow. That overarching ritual, and the dozens of tiny ones that compose it will belong to your family, and to them alone. It will give meaning, frame, boundaries, comfort.
We hope our discussion this week has helped impart worth to all the seemingly mundane aspects that go in to putting a meal on our tables. Next week we’ll chat about all the practical stuff like planning, shopping and cooking meals.