Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Sunday Night Dinner

A few months ago, one of our Sunday School teachers posed this question :: "If I asked your kids 'what does your family do' what would their answer be?" and it got me to thinking. We have traditions at Christmas time and birthdays, absolutely... and even Saturday morning donuts.. but what do our kids think that we do?

We watch football on Saturdays. And Sundays. And Mondays. And sometimes Fridays.

We go to church on Sundays.

We are pretty strict about bed time.

I mean, I really couldn't even think of anything else that we did on even a semi-regular basis... and the football, even, is seasonal!

So we set out to cultivate family throughout the year. At the suggestion of a friend, we created Sunday Night Dinners.

Sunday Nights have become an such sweet time for our family, y'all. We try our best to gather around our table - just the five of us - and break bread together. We break out the fancy (read: non-plastic) plates, sometimes we dress the table up with candles, place mats and - wait for it - cloth napkins instead of paper towels. We use fancy water glasses and we serve from the table instead of straight from the pot (or oven or microwave.)

We have appetizers. And chocolate milk.

We hang out in the kitchen as a family while Charlotte and I bang around our pots and pans. And yes, usually there is a gigantic mess to clean up afterward, but oh, my sweet friends, it is so worth it.

Charlotte sets the table and Brady clears with his daddy. Jeff is teaching our tender-hearted son how to serve women, and boy don't we need that attitude right now. On a weeknight, if we eat dinner all together, Jeff clears the minimal dishes while I get everyone ready for bed... or even, visa versa. Jeff serves me often, but Sunday Nights have become an intentional way of setting an example for our sweet children. We stop being in a rush, checking everything off the list, and just slow down to cultivate and solidify our family.

Once we sit down for dinner, we go around the table and play a 'game' called "high/low". We share a high from the week and a low. An opportunity to celebrate life's good times and share in each other's disappointments. Sometimes the lows are heavy... and sometimes they're silly, like having to take a roach out to the trash or pick up after Landry.

And Charlotte, sweet girl, almost never has a low. What an example that is for me... to not hold on to anything disappointing. An eternal optimist.

Our kids are young - and I know the day is drawing near that our kids are going to roll their eyes when it's Sunday Night Dinner. But for right now, they love it, and that warms my heart. They take part in it and can't wait to share with us about their week.

I imagine SND to be the type of thing that, as the kids get older, is a big deal to invite a boyfriend or a girlfriend to. Of course we think about this becuase we started dating in high school - but I can't believe that it has even crossed my mind as a parent, y'all!  

Please don't let the fancy of all of this deter you - it doesn't need to be fancy at all, y'all. I enjoy cooking - and Charlotte enjoys cooking with me - but I don't like having to rush to get it on the table, like we have to do during the week. So for Sunday Night Dinner (SND), I start early, and that makes it's easier (and less stressful) for Charlotte to help me. Sometimes, we scrap the fancy all together and make boboli pizzas or even breakfast.

We just get around the table. Our table.

Fancy, for us, has simply come to mean special.

What does special look like for your family?

Our dear friends - when presented with the same question - created Sunday Funday. They intentionally do something fun as a family. Picnics, golf range, family bike ride, movie day, etc. Just something to set them apart and say "this is our family". Friends and extended family are great... we love them, but sometimes it's good to just be your family.

I encourage you, to create your own Sunday Night Dinner. Whatever that might be... Sunday Funday, Wednesday Night Out, Date Night In, Dinner and a Movie... create a tradition that says "this is what our family does". Because time goes way too fast.

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