Family Dinner

Lisa Belkin takes on the topic of the family dinner in today’s New York Times, so anyone out there feeling guilty at not gathering the kids round the table every night, take heart: there are other ways, other times, to connect with the family.

Of course.

It’s easy for us now: Tony and I both work flexible schedules so that we can be home for dinner, the kids are young enough to do what we tell them to do (mostly) and don’t have loads of activities crowding their schedules.

And it’s not easy for us now: Ben bolts his dinner and asks to get back to drawing, or he fidgets and fiddles and sticks his feet on the table until we insist he leave the table until he remembers how to behave; Eli eats a bite, climbs down from the chair (oh, how we miss the straps on his booster and high chair!), walks around to say “hi!” to Ben, climbs back up, takes a bite, climbs down, runs into the living room for a cuddle with his lovely, climbs back up… You get the idea.

But still, more often than not, all four of us manage to sit at the table and enjoy the food, and have a few moments’ conversation about the day, about what new number Ben learned (he’s into big numbers now: quadrillion and quintillion and so on), or what Eli did at the playground with his friend, and even if it only lasts a couple minutes and it takes some effort, it’s important to me to try. I like to cook, and I like to eat, but more important than those to me is the community formed around the table.

So, although I won’t feel guilty if we can’t, I hope we can keep this up even when the kids are racing off to soccer and band practice and friends’ houses and part-time jobs. I hope sitting together round the table will matter to them as much as it does to Tony and me.


  1. Violeta says:

    Yes, there are other times to connect, but connecting over the table is my favorite opportunity too!

  2. Hi Caroline,

    Speaking of dinner, I’m going to be in SF next week and am hoping I can stop by and see you folks (on Weds), ideally while devouring a few of Gordo’s super burritos 🙂

    Can you send me ( whatever email address Tony is using these days? Thanks!