I have said it before and I will say it again, I hate it when my kids fight. It is inevitable with three girls. However, yesterday we sat down at our 100-year-old dining room table and I saw something beautiful.
My middle daughter was sharing with us some of her latest girl drama from school. My older daughter listened intensely. I saw a little mama bear in her come out wanting to protect her little sister’s heart. With all the love and care in the world, my older daughter gave her younger sister some great advice. In the end she said this, “I promise Grace, it will get better. High school is much easier with relationships.”
Last night, my family sat at our dinner table for almost two hours, enjoying each other. Isabel told us about her science class and how her teacher brought in one of those spinny things that you press down on and music comes out. Instantly, my Grace broke into a beat box (that is the chic drummer in her coming to the surface), while my husband and I dealt with the shock of our age. “That is called a record player.” Stephen said.
We had a lively conversation; there was lots of laughing. My husband managed to squeeze in a few words. “If women only said what was needed to be said, there would be a lot less confusion.” We all broke out in laughter.
As the evening progressed, I sat in amazement at how my girls interacted. “Isabel, have I told you how proud I am of you?” said her big sister, Julia. “Shoes for Kids is cool.” Isabel lit up at her big sister’s affirmation.
Each girl took turns and shared some of their struggles and stresses going on, but then the laughter took over the evening.
Grace brought the house down with her wit and charm. She managed to send Isabel to the floor with laughter and Julia just about lost a mouth full of food. Stephen had to take a moment to compose himself and I howled. Grace has this ability to seize a moment with humor. I don’t always think she realizes how funny she is.
At the end of dinner, the girls were in great moods. They did not even argue about doing dishes or clearing the table.
We have spent many years now gathering around this table. Even when the girls were little, we would attempt to sit at the table. I remember having to clean up the floor, and the spills and our table experience was all about managing toddlers and babies. As the girls got older, we would light candles and make the table look very pretty and talk about manners. We would pretend to be eating with the Queen. The girls would get all dressed up and we would make a big fuss about eating at the table. The girls would take turns decorating the table and often this allowed some very interesting centerpieces.
Now, we gather around this same table and we talk, we eat and we laugh, we cry and occasionally we fight. We still light candles, we get the serving dishes out, and we put effort into making the table look nice. We can’t do this every night, but we work hard to do this at least four times a week. Sometimes the travel gets in the way, and sometimes our kids have activities that interfere so we have to work hard to protect this time together. When we do gather, it becomes the highlight of my day, and I am convinced something spiritual takes place.
Specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy
Life, Family, Faith and Travel...the life of a Jones
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