When you first started your family, I bet you had dreamy expectations of all sitting around the table having quiet evening dinners. Everyone would be sharing stories, laughing, and having deep and meaningful conversations as your kids get older. You envision these 3 course family meals, that everyone loves, with courteous passing of the potatoes. Well…at least I did.
10 years on and 3 kids later, I have to say family dinners rarely go like that. At least one of the kids is going to hate what you cooked, no matter how kid friendly the recipe is. Someone is going to lose it if they don’t get their favorite cup or the right colored bowl. I won’t even get started on the battle to eat just one bite of vegetables.
I will give you an example.
Time is starting to blend together and I have kind of lost count, but somewhere around 70 days into COVID lockdown, time for dinner (or maybe 2nd dinner?) came around. I had spent the entire day cleaning self-generating messes, and attempting peace treaty talks to get home school work done. Exhausted and deflated I made the family pizza, because that is the only thing everyone can agree on without complaining.
I argue with the kids to all sit at the table like normal human beings, and we begin to share our ”best thing, worst thing” as tradition goes. My 4 year old shares his, then my 8 year old, then it is my 10 year old daughter’s turn. She decides to take this opportunity to go on a pre-teen rant about the worst things in her day. Everything from her hair being funny when she woke up, the boys annoying her, she can’t go out to see her friends…you get the idea. The mood is completely drained and everyone is looking kind of miserable.
Then out of nowhere…WHAP! My 4 year old decided to smack his sister in the face with a slice of pizza. It was so random and unexpected, that everyone sat open mouthed with surprise. After a few seconds of shocked silence, we all burst into laughter at the same time. My formerly ranting daughter was now laughing like a lunatic. The mood was instantly transformed into this light-hearted atmosphere and everyone kept laughing about being slapped with a pizza.
Would I normally condone slapping your sister with a slice of pizza? Absolutely not. Did I ever imagine complaining and food fights in my fantasy family dinners? Definitely not.
Yet I find my little family kind of perfect in its imperfection.