Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Can You "Do" Dinner?

I’m writing this from the McDonald’s on Indian Trail just off of I-85. The storm is coming down hard and instead of trying to wing it all the way home when my radio keeps beeping in with warnings from the Emergency Broadcast System, I thought I would pull over and wait it out.

Leave it to me pick a Mickey D’s with its cappuccino machine undergoing a cleaning at the wrong time.

And while getting home at a reasonable hour is now up there somewhere with the hope of winning some contest where I get free Super Bowl tickets for the rest of my life, I do know that I’ll get home eventually.

However, I won’t get to share any dinner time with my kids.

Granted, it was going to be short anyway. My older son was supposed to go to practice tonight to pick up his uniform so they could confirm the sizes. (I say supposed to as I checked my e-mail and practice has been cancelled. His first game is this weekend. I know he can’t wait.) Short dinners happen sometimes. I get home from work, get a few minutes to sit with my kids, and then they’re off to practice or a Scout meeting. Most of the time, though, we get a nice sit-down meal. And after a hard day at work, having that dinner meal with my family takes on special meaning.

A couple of weeks ago, my pastor brought up in his sermons about how the family meal he had growing up was a time to chat and reconnect with family. Dinner was always at 5:00 for his family. Nobody was late and nobody was ever done in 15 minutes. His mother worked hard to prepare good meals and everyone sat down and enjoyed it and then they talked. My wife works hard to provide great meals for us every day, too. (My nine-year old has begged her to open a restaurant.) And though we’re not at the table for two hours like my pastor said he used to be, dinner is still a time for my family to be together. A time to chill. A time to relax.

I really enjoy those moments with family. Some of the most special dinners I’ve had though are on evenings when I was late. Atlanta traffic can be challenging at times. And on nights when I’m thankful that I’m not the one caught in the accident that’s slowing things down, the commute is so bad that dinner goes cold. It’s on those nights I’m often greeted with a smiling face at the garage entrance door, and the sight of happy, starving kids who told their Mom that they wanted to wait for Dad to get home.

Dinner may be something people do every day. (Yes, I know that means people “do” dinner as opposed to “eat” dinner.) But sometimes it is the best meal of the day.


Pam said...

What a sweet post, Walt. I'm a single mom and I teach piano right through dinnertime Monday through Thursday, and my teens have plans with their friends most weekends, so family meals are almost a thing of the past around here. But when they happen, they are magical. Cherish these times with your children, because it's really true what they say: it goes by too fast.

Aron White said...

Very true, Walt :) It's the little moments in life that count most.