1.10.2018

Blog Jump Start: Week 4


This week's Blog Jump Start, hosted by Donna at What if God Says No, asks: "Guess who's coming to dinner? Living or dead, who would you invite?"

My very initial reaction to this prompt was "ugh. I hate this writing prompt/ice breaker/whatever question." (Sorry, Donna! Keep reading though, I thank you at the end!) The pressure to answer with the right person, on the spot usually, it just stresses me out. I'm always left thinking "aw man, that was a great answer, why didn't I think of that person?" So, I honestly didn't think I'd join in for this week's link up.

However, while I was running on the dreadmill (dreaded treadmill) I found myself thinking about it. My initial gut response was 'my Dad.' I mean, of course I'd love to have him over for dinner - let him have a chat with Sugarbeet and revel over her as she uses real silverware and eats pretty much whatever is put in front of her; hear him tell "lighten' up Becca" after correcting her; and just watch him, watch her.

I started to wonder, hmmm, does this prompt include the proviso that all of the awkwardness would be gone? Or that all past hurts would be forgiven? Because honestly, as much as I'd love to sit down to dinner with my Dad one more time, I can't say it would be a perfectly stress-free affair. Would it be worth it? Absolutely.

That led me to think beyond my initial response (and outside of family members who have died). What other person would I want to have dinner with? Jesus? Of course. Mary? Yes, please! Saints? Yes! Famous people? Maybe. Depends on the person.

My thoughts morphed from who would I want to come to dinner to just the ritual of dinner itself. Growing up, I honestly have zero memories of my immediate family (mom, dad, brother, and me) sitting down at the dinner table together. I am sure it happened, but I do not remember it. I'm sure some of that is due to that my parents divorced when I was eight. I do have memories of dinners growing up, but dinner time was never really a central focus in our lives. As my brother and I grew older and involved in more activities, family dinners became nearly nonexistent. In my prior marriage, we tried to have dinner together often but in the course of the marriage more often than not we did not sit down at the table together for meals. It wasn't until January, 2015 that a set dinner time became a regular routine in my life.

First, it was just R and me, then along came Sugarbeet, and for the past three years, dinner time has become central to our family. I look forward to this time every day - the preparation and the sitting down to eat together. While I cook, R and Sugarbeet will play and I listen to music or a podcast or I watch something on my iPad. Then we sit down together, pray, and eat dinner. We catch up on our days and talk about what is coming up. They are my most cherished moments of each day.

When I worked in marriage ministry, specifically marriage prep, I would share statistics about the small percentage of families who eat meals together. I would talk about how this contributes to the breakdown of the family because it is so often at the family table where we get to know one another. It is how so many relationships begin - over a shared meal - and yet when life gets busy it is often one of the first things to go. There was a time where families ate 2 - 3 meals per day (14 - 21 meals per week) together; today many families are lucky to share 2 or 3 meals per week together. Our lives face outward instead of inward in so many ways. Many good. Some not.

All of this led me to my answer for this prompt. Who would I invite to dinner? R and Sugarbeet.

Yes, a guest is nice and there are so many people who I'd love to chat with over dinner, but there is a hole in my memories where family dinners are not. It is a gaping hole where the work of family life was never really done; a hole that I intend to fill up full to overflowing for Sugarbeet. It is where each day our family reconnects, shares our joys and our struggles; our success and our failings. While we are far from perfect, this is one area that we have done things well and this prompt reminded me of that. Ironically, it wasn't something we set out to do well. It was just the rhythm of life we settled into. So, while I wasn't thrilled with this prompt, I am grateful to and I thank Donna for asking the question. It certainly gave me a lot to consider.

3 comments:

  1. I love your answer! JJ and I eat dinner together most nights, the exception being when I see clients in the evening but even then he comes to the office to eat with me. It has been an important part of us staying connected. Even when we had our 4 month foster son we would put him at the table with us or when he got fussy one of us would hold him as we inhaled our food. I am so glad y'all enjoy dinner as a family every night it is such an important part of the familial bond.

    I am having a hard time with the prompt too and have been thinking about it but still do not have a definitive answer.

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  2. This was a terrific way to think about this question! What a great tradition to start for your family. It will reap many benefits and blessings.

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  3. I love your thought process and how you got to who your dinner companions would be. You realize the value of the togetherness and the ritual. A few weeks ago at mass Father talked about the 'Sacred Meal' and said that not only is mass that, but every meal is or should be. You and R are creating that for Sugarbeet. Beautiful!

    BTW - I love your term 'dreadmill'. Having started back on the couch to 5k, I now understand it.

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