. Supper is about prevention and repair. We don’t have to reinvent our relationships every day, because they are already built into what we know we will do. We don’t have to make a special time to get together, because it already exists. We have a place where we can bring things, a set of actions that is both symbolic and real.”
Source: Miriam Weinstein. The Surprising Power of Family Meals: How Eating Together Makes Us Smarter, Stronger, Healthier and Happier. 2005. pgs. 246-247
There were two types of dinners I experienced as a child. They were stark in contrast, yet both left a lasting impression on me. One type of dinner I had was with my mother and step father. It was laden with rules, over-sized portions, and tension so thick that even our steak knives could not cut through. There was no talk about how your day was, because quite frankly children in our house were to be seen and never heard. It was silent; accept for the few derogatory comments that would be said by my forever- unhappy step father. It was a time to eat as fast as you could so you could disappear back into your room, away from the threat of ugly words and probably some sort of punishment from out of nowhere.
Then there was dinner at my best friend’s house. They ate every evening at 6pm. It was a set time and there were no questions where they would be at that time of day. No matter what adventure her and I were into, she always had to go home by six. I ate a lot of dinners at her house growing up and I loved every one of them. At first I thought it was odd that they ate every day together because our house was so sporadic, and without routine of any sort. I thought it was so strange that they talked to each other while they ate. But over time I thought to myself; “Some day when I have a family, dinnertime is going to be important. It’s going to be a time that I will let my children know that they are loved and cared for. It will be a place to come together and feel like a family should feel.
It’s funny the things we remember as a child and the decisions that we make based on our experiences. We can either have self pity and carry on the bad habits or negative traits, or we can choose to make different paths and better experiences for ourselves and the ones that we love. We can break the domino effect that others carried on before us, and live a better life.
So I choose to say, thank you Laurel for being my friend since we were eight or nine years old, and sharing your family with me. It changed me and showed me a different life. It showed me the importance of family and tradition, of love and character. It showed me the power of our mind and if we change the way think, our actions will follow suit.
I hope my children will look back some day and feel thankful for all of the meals we have shared over their lifetime and realize why I made it such an important part of our lives.