I recall an evening when my kids were in grade school --
a weeknight, and I had cooked pot roast for dinner.
Nothing unusual from my point of view: it was dinner,
it was good, and we all sat down together to eat.
My next-door neighbor stopped by unexpectedly
just as we raised our forks, and when she stepped inside
and breathed in the homey cooking scents, she said,
"Oh! How wonderful! You've cooked a REAL meal!
And you're all sitting down together to eat!"
Indeed we were. Indeed we did every night.
If you must eat, it might as well be a good time.
The funny thing is that this neighbor was the epitome
of a Kansas (from whence she hailed) 1950's stereotypical
housewife. It would not have been out of the question
to assume that every evening meal at her table was
replete with home-canned peaches and freshly-baked
bread. But judging from her reaction, I'm guessing
that it was not.
So powerful, apparently, was my insistence that we sit
down together at the table and eat & talk that, recently,
when my son N. was visiting for dinner, and I suggested
that we take our plates and eat in front of the television,
he reacted with indignance and horror: we ate at the table.
It gives me no small pleasure to acknowledge that, as a
mother, I know I've done at least one thing right.