Nowadays, our refrigerator is such a sad sight…there’s so much space in there! Anytime one of the children tells us they’re coming home, I love filling the refrigerator and cooking. But especially, Terrell and I can’t wait to sit at the table over a meal, enjoying looking at and listening to our child as they share about their life. We linger there, long after we’re through eating, just talking. I love it.
This dynamic didn’t happen overnight.
During the preschool years, Terrell was seldom home for supper because he was working. As for me, I approached suppertime as a function. Honestly, by this time of day, I was beginning to celebrate that bedtime was almost here, and praying, “God, give me grace!” because I was so tired. I just wanted to get through the meal, go bathe the children, and tuck them into bed. I’m pretty sure I concealed my attitude from them , but I didn’t like how I felt on the inside.
Then one day I watched them come to the table for a meal. As I put Cecilia in her high chair, the boys eagerly climbed into their booster seats. Their faces were lit up as they chattered loudly. I thought, “They really look forward to this ‘next event’ in their day.” Later that night, it dawned on me how excited little children are to be with their parents. They adore us and cherish every opportunity with us. I saw that I was ignoring a gift and an opportunity from God. That night, I realized something had to give – me.
My childhood memories of mealtimes were good, and I wanted this for our children as well. My parents were intentional about the quality of our time during meals. I know their investment contributed to our family’s closeness.
So, I prayed, asking for God’s forgiveness and for Him to give me direction, strength and motivation – I knew exhaustion would continue to be a challenge! Through Him, my approach to mealtimes changed (I’ll write more on this next week). I began to look forward to them. As Terrell was able to enter in more, it was even better. Gradually, mealtimes began to take on the shape of significant daily experiences for our family.