Monday, April 18, 2011

It Feels Like Things Are Changing

One of our big things is that we've always tried really hard to sit down together as a family for dinner. We have four kids and when they were all little, we got into the habit of doing things a certain way. When dinner was ready, the kids would all take their seats at the table while my husband and I prepared their plates. We dished out their helpings of veggies and chopped up their meat. And, it became an unspoken rule that milk was the beverage of choice for dinner. Our little "mom-and-dad-assembly line" just made it easier for us to quickly get food on the table so that we could all sit down and enjoy our meal together.

Now, as our kids are getting older, it feels like things are changing. They are now ages 10, 12, 14, and 17. They no longer need us to fix their plates or cut up their meat into bite-size pieces. And besides that, it's become more and more difficult for us to even be able to meet up together at the dinner table. Our oldest is almost 18. He has a part-job and his own car. When he's not working, he's usually at the gym or hanging out with his friends. He will graduate from high school in 6 short weeks. It's like I can physically feel him pulling away from us. Of course, I know this is natural. That's what almost-18-year-olds are supposed to do. It's not that there are any problems; he's just searching for some independence as he finds his way between being a kid and a young man. But, it's hard and I truly feel like something is being torn from me.

Then, there's our daughter. She is almost 15 and pretty much a typical teenage girl. Boycrazy! Very concerned with how she looks and what she's wearing. More and more, she's doing her own thing, too. Going to school functions, ballgames, etc. All this means another often empty chair at the dinner table.

The two youngest boys both play baseball. Many nights, practice or games fall right around - what time? You guessed it. Dinner time. It just seems like our family time around the dinner table is happening less and less.

I know our kids have to grow up and things will change. And, I couldn't be more happy and proud of the people they are becoming as they grow. But, a little part of me really misses all six of us sitting around the dinner table each night. Loud voices talking over one another, giggles, little boy burps, requests for more milk...

What about you? Do you have any special thoughts or memories about family time at the dinner table? For those of you with teens (or older), how did you deal with it when you first started feeling the pangs of them pulling away?


septembermom said...

I'm not at that point yet, but I know it's coming. I love how we joke together now. Once my oldest drives in 2 years, I'm sure that he'll be off to somewhere during the dinner hour. And my other three are catching up.

Hopefully, we can make the most of any time that we have together. It's a fast world and literally the kids are on the go so quickly.