Fall in New England
I'm enjoying work, I'm meeting people, I'm going out to lunch, I'm getting up early (like still pitch black early) to exercise, I'm still mostly managing to get my mug of ice cream and dose of Jon Stewart at the end of the day. But the best part of my day is dinnertime.
I can't believe I just wrote that.
It was just a few short years ago that I spent the 5 o'clock hour balancing a baby on my hip while trying to prepare food for a toddler who was most likely going to eat two bites, grimace, and declare himself "all done". I spent years making dinners when it seemed like more of it ended up on the floor than in their bellies. But I kept at it. I did the best I could to make mostly homemade meals, with a few frozen fish sticks and some pizza thrown in. The important thing was that we sat down together every night, even if it took an hour to cook dinner and four minutes to eat. And now...
I have boys who like to help make dinner. They actually fight over who gets to set the table. They are still young and are sometimes picky in the ways that kids are, but in general they eat well. They understand that they have to eat vegetables with every dinner. They may whine a bit when it's not one of their favorites, but they mostly eat them anyway. Most importantly, they know that dinner is a time for us to sit down together.
I had tried playing High-Low ("The high of my day was..., The low part of my day was...") a couple years ago, but it didn't stick. I think the boys were too young and simply couldn't sit still long enough at that point. When we visited my friend Sara in Amsterdam, she and her family play it and asked us to participate. Since then, it has become a required part of our dinnertime conversation. And it's wonderful. (Sara - Thank P for me!) My little guy, who doesn't share information unless specifically asked, has shared some important feelings and thoughts about his new school and new friends. It serves as a conversation starter, and we take it from there.
Now that I'm back at work, dinnertime has become even more important, because it's a time for me to connect with my boys. So when it's my turn for High-Low, I always start with "My High is right now..."