Word #83 of 100 – Dinnertime

Word #83. Dinnertime.

We have a dinner bell.

Each day when dinner is ready, I ring it and hear a quick, “Coming!” Then, like a pack of Pavlov’s dogs,  I hear hungry footsteps scurrying down the stairs.

I should be speaking in past tense.

This weekend I took our youngest son to college. The dinner bell will sit idly now until the holidays.

But when I see it, I will remember the 4,000 plus times we sat together around our small kitchen table. Sometimes dinner lasted only 10 minutes. Often, the food was mediocre. What nourished us was our physical togetherness to laugh and share, support and sustain each other.

When my children were in high school and I felt we were bursting at the seams with busy-ness, I asked them: “How will you know if our family is doing okay?”

They thought for a few minutes and then one after the other said, “If we’re having family dinners together, we’re doing okay.”

Of any group of humans who live and learn together, none is more important than family. And of all family activities, regular dinnertime together may be the most important of all. It anchors a family and brings consistency, stability and joy to the children.

I’m grieving the end of my children’s childhoods. More than that, though, I am overjoyed for them and the traditions they will be creating in their own lives and ultimately their own families. They are grounded and it’s their turn to lead their own lives.

First one to have kids gets my treasured dinner bell.