There's a new book making the rounds in the USA and I tell you what - it's getting on my nerves a bit.
Entitled "The Family Dinner. Great Ways to Connect with your Kids. One Meal at a Time", by Hollywooder Laurie Daivd, who co-produced "An Inconvenient Truth" and was married to comedian Larry David for decades. Ah yes, a typical American family.
To be fair, you can't argue with her main message - that family meals, where we all sit down around the same table, and (gasp) have a conversation, are a good thing. In reality however, it doesn't work for a lot of families, and that's not even a new thing. From the age of about 12 to 18, my four dance lessons per week were in the evenings, which meant that my family ate without me. I came home every night to a once-hearty dinner perched atop a pan of boiling water. The gravy was baked onto the paint like a coat of tar, the minced/ground meat resembled tiny pebbles, and the mashed potatoes disintergrated on contact with a fork. No microwave in our house then.
Last year I was thrilled that my own family had dinner together every night. The Little Guy's activities, which were minimal, ended well before dinner time, and the older two did things at school, again, well before dinner time. Having two teenagers, I can't tell you how valuable this time was for finding out about flunked tests, upcoming projects and general teen gossip. I would also venture to say that the sibs grew to like each other more than your average teen family, even if the competition for air time made our kitchen a very noisy place. (Once, when my mother was visiting, I looked over at her during a very animated dinner conversation, and she had her hands discreetly placed over her ears. Ah, good times.)
This year it's all gone pear-shaped. This is now our weekly evening schedule -
Mondays - Man-child has enrolled in a School of Rock thing (5-8pm)
Tuesdays - and voice lessons at the same place (5.45 - 8pm)
Wednesdays - Little Guy has a piano lesson (4.45-5.15) and Man-Child has a guitar lesson (5.30-6.15pm)
Thursdays - Little Guy has a theatre class downtown (4-5pm) which of course, swallows up a good 20 minutes on either side.
Fridays - depends on what the teens are doing. We quite often go out for a family meal though.
And then Laurie David comes out with a book encouraging us to make time for family dinners. Not that simple sweetie.