Every night as a child without question we came home and my family ate together. It was just the way it was. We all talked at dinner, sometimes we fought, sometimes we just sat together and celebrated our disfunction. This continued well after my parents separated. My mom would make dinner for my brother and I. Even when she was a single mom, working full time and struggling to make ends meet.
As the generations changed, the idea of nightly dinners disappeared. There became Sunday night dinners. One night a week that you would try to eat as a family. Now, in 2009 we fall to the quick fix, microwave, boil in the bag, throw in the oven for 20 minutes type meals. The real crime is that a family dinner has become “eating out”. I am guilty of this as well. I am a single dad that struggles with eating at home, making a dinner, creating a meal that everyone likes. It is MUCH easier to just order off a menu and let someone else cook and clean.
It doesn’t make it right though.
I was just in Michigan, having dinner at a very expensive chain restaurant, on a Tuesday, in an area that is the hardest hit in America due to the current economic “crisis”.
Not a seat open in the house. 15-20 minute wait. I look over at a family of four, drinking pop, eating a tower of onion rings, one of the boys standing on his chair while eating, the oldest daughter texting, the middle daughter playing her Nintendo DS, the mother reading an email on her Blackberry, the father was oblivious to it all.
I asked my waitress how much they spent on their dinner… “about $200…”
I was so saddened. I was sad for that family because they won’t have the experience that I had. My family was and is far from perfect, but I cherish those dinners more then ever. I am making a commitment this weekend to my family, we will eat at home, I will cook and we will all talk, laugh and argue together. That’s a family, I hope it’s not too late to save that old idea.
What’s for dinner tonight?