A few weeks ago I took a step back from the blog. Initially it was out of necessity because of some craziness at work that is requiring a lot of extra attention. But then...well...then, I just made a conscious decision to stay away and regroup, find some extra breaths and turn inward a little bit with the family. During this time I stumbled upon a book at a local bookstore called The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time by Laurie David. Dinner is a big deal around here, and when the kids were younger, we ate every dinner together at the dinner table....but some time in the last couple of years, the odd hours of our business have created a shift in our family eating dynamic. Most nights, I still put loads of energy into creating our dinner, but then we usually collapse with our bowls in front of a baseball game, a movie...or I'm ashamed to say...our respective electronic devices. The moment I spotted the cover of this book, I felt 'called out'. I mean, how had we gotten to this place? I spend so much time thinking about the preparation of this nightly meal, the one meal that we can eat all together and yet once it's prepared we were all retreating to separate spaces, or to the same space but rather than really being with each other, we were zoning out. I didn't really need a book to tell me all of the reasons that we should eat together at the same table, but apparently I did need the nudge to actually make it happen.
So...we're on Week 3 of our family's return to the table. I realize this is not groundbreaking news....and that tons of families do this every night without ever considering it as special or out of the ordinary. I also know that eating in front of the TV or while you're flipping through a book or magazine has it's own merits (hello, quiet thoughts?). That being said, I am seriously enjoying the rhythm that we have going on right now. I love The Girl setting the table, The Teenager asking if we're still doing "that eat all together thing", sitting for an extra half an hour with The Man, long after we've finished eating, just enjoying the conversation. We've tweaked Laurie David's 'rules' a little bit to better suit the vibe of our family, but generally, I really appreciate the reminder to just 'be' with each other. To that end, she offers some great ideas to help embrace nightly dinner rituals as the conduit to make that happen. And so we gussy up our water a bit with fresh fruit and mint or The Girl makes curlicue lettered place cards and folds the napkins just so. These are all just little things to say this time and space are special and so are the people that you're sharing it with. Like I said...nothing earth-shattering...but I'm loving it all the same. Thanks for letting me think about it in an out-loud sort of way.
We've been baking up a storm, as have bloggers and community partners all over Austin. Please come out and support our efforts to send funds to Americares in order to provide assistance to the people in Japan afflicted by these horrific tragedies. There are bake sale locations all over town tomorrow: