A few months ago, I mentioned Exhibit A – a person in my life who thinks the children should not do work in the home. Unsurprisingly, there are other philosophical differences between myself and Exhibit A, a fact that was recently brought to my attention when E.A. harassed me…err…I mean, mentioned to me that I should have dinner ready for Miss Magnificent at 5:30, presumably moments after she gets home from soccer practice. Well, now, for starters, this is logistically impossible. I am her ride home from soccer practice, which means that it would be rather difficult to stir-fry chicken while I’m on Marriottsville Road. Besides that, I’m at college two nights a week at that time. If those two reasons are not enough, I also have two other children and one other parent who are leaving for soccer just as Miss Magnificent is arriving home.
One rarity that I have gone to great lengths to preserve in my family is a family dinner. Yep, that’s right. Five people sitting at a table in the actual Dining Room, eating off of ceramic plates and not drinking Coke. Also talking, laughing and being nourished, body and soul. We eat family dinners together the great majority of the time – a practice I fiercely protect. But, let’s face it – this is hard to do with modern schedules. I can appreciate the fact that there are some family structures where it is literally impossible more often than not. However, for many, it’s more a matter of not considering it important and therefore, willingly relinquishing the quaint family meal.
Since I do consider it important, though hard, this means dinner will be late. Some nights, by most people’s standards, we eat absurdly late. 8:00. Nine, even. On the weekends, when our evenings are unencumbered by sports and activities, I still have not the slightest desire to get dinner going before perhaps 7:00. I don’t like having to get busy cooking early, only to have this dead spot of inactivity between dinner and bed-time routines. Besides all that, if I eat so early, I just get the munchies by 9:00 and ruin my diet.
So – that’s how I do it. I honestly have no idea how families can eat at 5:00 or 5:30 if they do have kids in any activities or how this works with work obligations. I guess this is why so many eat fast food or non-meal foods, and why the notion of the family meal seems so antiquated nowadays.
My friend, E.A. never did relinquish her view that I am simply wrong and dinner “must” be served well before 6:00. I’m not really a fighter (well, I just passive-agressively prove her wrong on my blog), so I didn’t go far to convince her that my way is perfectly fine, but…it is. I’ve heard that most Europeans think Americans eat dinner absurdly early, so maybe I’m just having a flare-up of my European ancestry. I will not let my precious family dinners die out without a good, hard fight, so I’m doing it come hell or by crockpot, even if that means the kids can have Nutrigrain bars at 5:00 to tide them over until the pork chops can be ready.