What’s wonderful about your family’s “mealtime picture” is that its one of a kind. No one else’s looks quite the same. And as Janelle said yesterday, it’s all the seemingly insignificant habits, etiquette and personalities blended together that make your family unique.
(Speaking of blending, I have to tell you what happened to me last night. My poor husband wasn’t feeling well and so I offered to make him his favorite strawberry smoothie. I was having a little trouble getting our twenty-dollar six-year-old blender to work but that’s not unusual. Then I noticed a big chunk of something grey floating in the pitcher. I fished out a section of the rubber ring that is part of the blender assembly. I’m still not sure how it became the sixth ingredient in my smoothie. I’m just grateful I didn’t give my husband an even more memorable stomach-ache!)
It’s something as small as the way you fold your napkins (rectangle or triangle?), who takes ice in their drinks and where everybody sits. Do you hold hands to pray for your meal or fold them in your lap? Do you pass the food clockwise or do you serve buffet style?
Conversation is another major ingredient. There was always a lot of laughter in the Mahaney home. Even though my dad and Janelle are the only ones graced with a sense of humor, Dad had a way of helping us all laugh—even when our jokes flopped. Other families might be more serious and serene or have lively debates.
Then there are the stories. Simply by hearing about the events of each person’s day, you can build up a storehouse of “shared” experiences. Some of the more memorable stories become part of family lore. (Just ask anyone in our family about Uncle Grant’s picnic story!) Inside jokes and serious fellowship all strengthen—often in unseen ways—that almost indescribable bond.
So here’s something you can talk about at dinnertime tonight—what are the funny, quirky, and significant things that make our family meals one of a kind? Then thank God for these small, unique expressions of His boundless creativity.