A few weeks ago, I got my dining room table cleaned off. Y’all, I’m talking for the first time in MONTHS. It has been our catch-all for as long as I can remember, and the items that get put there never seem to find their way into a proper ‘place’.
But we cleaned it off. Everything. De-cluttered, washed, dusted. I remember feeling true excitement, looking at my clean dinner table.
Now we can really have family dinners!
Something I’ve been thinking about and planning since, oh, about the time Ronan could sit up. Family dinners. Everyone sitting around the table, eating at the same time and being together. Conversing. Learning how to share about your day, table manners, politeness. One of my strongest desires to have as a ritual in my own family as my mother made it for us. We may all go our separate ways during the day, but dinner will always be the chance to get back together and reconnect.
No more sitting and eating in front of the TV. No more plopping Ronan down in his high-chair next to us on the couch. No more mindless food stuffing into faces.
I couldn’t have been more excited.
I made a lovely dinner of meatloaf, mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. Everyone in my family LOVES this meal, including Ronan. I set the table with place mats, dishes, silverware and glasses of water. I imagined when Ronan and his baby sister were older, having them set the table for me. I was excited to see how Ronan would react, how much Brock would enjoy it.
… then Brock got home. And he didn’t want to sit at the table. He thought it was stupid. He wanted to relax on the couch with his food, watch a show, and decompress.
He said he hated having family dinners.
He sat in silence through the whole meal, un-interested and unwilling to give it a try.
And my hopes were crushed.
We haven’t sat at the dinner table since that night. We still sit in front of the TV while we eat.
I am at a loss.
I feel defeated.
What do I do?
Do I force the issue? It is so important to me, something I truly believe in.
Do I let it die? It’s just dinner after all?
How do you feel about family dinners? How early do you think a child should be exposed to eating at the dinner table? How awful is it that we sit in front of the TV and eat every single night?