I love articles and posts about how important it is to eat dinner together as a family as much as possible. I heartily agree with that advice and think it is an integral part of the family growth and development together to have a calm, homemade, electronic-free dinner at a table in your own home at a reasonable hour as often as possible.
But what about when it’s not possible?
My commute home is a minimum of 90 minutes. Even with 2 kids only having one activity each, life can be crazy. Sometimes, I don’t leave work at 5 pm. Who does? I can’t make the rest of the family wait for me when I’m running late.
And, what about activities? I only have 2 kids, with one activity each right now and even that can wear us thin. A few weeks ago, baseball was in playoffs, I was trying to attend some political meetings and my youngest was starting Cub Scouts. We had 4 nights out of 5 where we all weren’t home before 9 o’clock – which is past their bedtime, if not mine.
My wife feeds herself and the boys before games or meetings, but it can easily be after 8 pm when we get home, and 2 boys need showers and bedtime antics ensue. Dinner for me takes a back seat to all of that.
One night, I left work a little late and was meeting the rest of my family at a Cub Scout meeting. I knew I wouldn’t get there until after 7 pm and was already debating stopping at Subway or even a store for something.
When I pulled into a gas station, I checked my phone. My wife had texted me: “Dinner is in the cup holder.”
I parked next to her minivan and, there it was, a heavy travel soup container with rice and chicken stir fry.
The next week, a got the same text at the same time, “Dinner is in the cup holder.”
In the van cup holder, I found an aluminum foil wrapped hot sandwich.
Damn, she’s good.
I brought my dinner in and sat back in the Cub Scout meeting watching her participate with the kids while my older son (the non-Cub Scout) sat on the other side of the room with a gaggle of older boys around him playing Minecraft on the iPad. I thought, well, at least we’re all together.