Please bear with me, this post is a little longer than I am accustomed to writing, I believe that what I have to share will be beneficial to someone.
A few weeks ago I was invited to Sunday dinner at the home of the Evans family (family of five, three girls plus mom and dad) Ms. E is an old college mate, she didn’t finished college because she got married and started a family. I was excited! Being single has its pros and cons, one downside is eating alone. Anyway, I arrived at 2 pm with a bottle of wine, flowers for Ms. E and crumbs cupcakes for the girls to have after dinner.
Mr. E. greeted me at the door and quickly disappeared upstairs to the bedroom. After hugging the girls and chatting for a few minutes, me and Ms. E settled in the kitchen, opened the wine and proceeded to catch up on life. An hour into my visit my excitement went from 10 to 0. I was looking forward to a family day, you know the old fashion way families use to spend time. Playing games, laughing and talking over dinner and then maybe a movie with popcorn to close out the evening.
What I got was the girls in the living room engaged in their electronic devices, there wasn’t any talking, no interaction between them, they sat staring as in a trance at their I pads, and their ears were plugged up. I sensed Ms. E’s embarrassment about the situation, so she justified their behavior by saying that Mr. E has been working long hours during the week, and on the weekends he likes the house to be quiet.
Ms. E and I stayed in the kitchen drinking wine, chopping, cooking and talking. After a while reality set in Ms. E wanted company. She craved someone to talk to, she was feeling lonely and disconnected. There came a point during the period before we ate dinner that the youngest child become restless, she was told by Ms. E to go and play quietly in her room. She was sent to play in her room alone, instead of remaining in the kitchen with us.
The other children were woken from their trance by Ms. E. to set up the table. At 4 pm, Ms. E called Mr. E to the dinner table, by this time the youngest child had fallen asleep, the father said leave her to sleep, Ms. E did not protest. It took a moment to get out plates filled and for a conversation to start, but it wasn’t a meaningful conversation. The girls answered my questions with short response, and Mr. E mostly talked about how much over time he was doing, and Ms. E kept asking everyone did they want more to eat. During dinner the youngest child woke to join us.
After we ate, Mr. E excused himself to go and full the vehicles up with gas for the coming week. I helped Ms. E cleaned the kitchen, put the food away and to set up coffee and the cupcakes for the girls, they ate a few bites and asked to go to their rooms to watch a show on the Disney Channel. I stayed with Ms. E for another hour and said my good byes at 7pm, there was no Mr. E in sight.
I went home and got out my old family albums and spent time remembering the good old days. I called Ms. E letting her know I got home safe and thanking her for the dinner. I extended an invite for her and the family to have dinner at my house the next Sunday. What I didn’t tell her was that I was going to invite some of my family members so she can experience what a good old fashion Sunday Family Dinner is supposed to be.
Family bonding is important.
What say you?