Saturday, May 7, 2011

31 Days Closer to Your Kids: Meals Together

Shelly Final

Our college girl came home yesterday.

For the summer.

Where, oh where did that year go?? It’s like *poof!* Gone. Into thin air.

Please, God, can’t you just slow down time a little bit?

Alas, this isn’t a post about kids growing up too fast. Even though these teen years are super-fun for us and I hate to even think about college graduation, which is right around the corner, there were plenty of years (*ahem* babyyears *ahem*) that seemed to c r a w l.

Nope. I just wanted to tell you about our night last night because it was so much fun and we really had a great opportunity to connect with our kids.

Since I knew Kate would be officially coming home for the summer, I decided to kick it off with a fabulous meal together. I went to the meat market and bought some beautiful steaks. I made her favorite fruit salad, even splurging on raspberries at $2.99 for a half pint which I usually don’t do because . . . $2.99 for a half pint? Seriously? But College Girl loves raspberries, so I splurged. We also had pasta salad and baked potatoes and some delicious banana bread that a friend made for us. It was an awesome meal.

Caroline had a friend over (the sweet friend who came on Spring Break with us—she’s pretty much like family) so she stayed for dinner too. The girls were headed to a talent show after dinner, and Kate was supposed to go to a party at another friend’s house, so dinner had to be a little early.

This is how we roll with teenagers. Flexibility is the key.

Let me just tell you that dinner with all of our kids around the table (plus one!) was so much fun. We ended up sitting there for a long time just talking and laughing and talking and laughing some more.

Eventually Caroline and E left for the talent show, but Kate said, “You know what? I don’t really feel like going out tonight. I think I’ll go get a movie and stay here if that’s O.K. with you.”

O.K. with us? Of course!

So the four of us who remained at home ended up watching “The King’s Speech” together (awesome movie—don’t let the R rating deter you).

Don’t underestimate the power of a great meal. Yes, it took planning. Yes, it took flexibility. Yes, it took effort. But the results were so worth it.

You know what? You don't have to wait until your kids are coming home from college to plan a special meal. And your meal certainly doesn't have to be steak and too-expensive raspberries to be special. Making family meals a priority is a good start to celebrating your family . . . every day . . . no matter how young (or old) your kids may be.

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Be sure to check out the other gals in the "31 Days Closer . . ." series:

Sandy at The Amazing Adventures of the Fitness Friday Girl
Melanie at Bella~Mella
Jen at Finding Heaven
Lisa at Glad Chatter
Missy at It's Almost Naptime

Shelly

5 comments:

  1. We try to have dinner together most nights (of course, my kids are only 5 & 6, so we don't have 15 different schedules) but it really does set a tone for family life! This gives me encouragement that it is important!

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  2. Our girls were here for dinner last night, too. (Dave grilled hamburgers and I made potato salad.)

    I had warned our new downstairs neighbors that when the girls visit there is lots of loud laughing and talking. :)

    What a sweet welcome home dinner you prepared . . . this could also have the title ~ honoring your kids achievements.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

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  3. I am deeply enjoying this blog! Giving me some refreshing ideas (and optimism) for the teenage years. Meal time can make our break a family, and although mine are all tiny tots, getting your encouragement will help me to keep on the right path.

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  4. I love having dinner together. It's a very high priority for me. I hope it is always that way.

    Great post. And I'm so glad for you that college girl is home. I know how excited you must be.

    Sandy

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  5. With two college men plus a 17 year- old -needing -to- gain- weight- football- player son, my philosophy is the same as yours, "If we grill steaks, they will come."

    Eating together is the greatest thing our family has consistently done. It is such a simple (ha ha not really in the teenage years) thing... yet you would be shocked to discover how many families do NOT make it a priority!

    They are missing out big time!

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