Being an only child, might have something to do with it, but I really think that if I had siblings, I would still believe in family dinners. It is not just about eating a home cooked meal, but being able to talk together and share stories about our day. I look forward to our family dinners because it is a time to catch up and hear what crazy thought or philosophy had dropped into our minds throughout the day. No matter what the topic, the stories passed at the dinner table are bits of each others lives away from home.
When I was younger my parents would usually start off talking about their day at work. At times I would just focus on my food because I didn’t understand what they were talking about, but what I didn’t know was that it didn’t matter, I was hearing my parents being themselves. At the dinner table they are comfortable expressing themselves and know that whatever they say the others will eagerly listen. With each family dinner I learned something different about my parents, something that adds to my understanding of them and myself everyday. It is just like figuring out the secret ingredient in your favorite sauce or marinade that makes the meal taste so much better.
As I have grown older dinner has become the time to sort through the confusing parts of my day, or talk through issues I don’t quite know how to approach. My mom’s dinner table advice tends to be filled with a little risk and spontaneity, like a cook throwing in whichever ingredient they feel will zest up the meal. My dad contributes to the conversation with a different approach. His ways of handling situations are safer and more logical, like a baker. He tends to follow the exact “instructions” of handling different situations, so the end product will come out like it’s supposed to. Just like my favorite spaghetti sauce my mom and dad’s dinner table advice has been a good balance of ideas to help me handle different situations throughout the years.
The dinner conversation is not just about problems, we talk about funny thoughts that ran through our heads during the day, or share interesting facts we have learned. No matter what we say, and how long it takes to finish the meal, I know both of my parents enjoy the time as much as me.
Because of our busy schedules, our family dinners have now dwindled down to about two times a week. We only have a limited time before I have to finish my homework or go to volleyball, but that does not stop us from being sure we make time for our dinner together. I believe in these weekly conversations at the dinner table because they bring us closer as a family, and even closer to who I really am. One thing is for sure, I will never have an excuse to stop talking with my parents, because I will always be hungry for dinner!
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