I don't recall a lot of family time at the dinner table while growing up. My dad was a workaholic and didn't make much time for the family. The time we did have together at the table was probably spent listening to his bitter rants about the government, or this group or that group that was ruining the world. Of course, any time spent talking meant less time he had to work in the evening, so it's more likely dinner time was spent in silence. That was a long time ago and my memories have kind of faded.
By the time I was fifteen it was more or less fend for yourself. I was usually working during dinner time, anyway, and when I wasn't working, I was probably out with my buddies. As a teen who spent most of his time at school, work, and then hanging out with other teenagers, let's just say my eating habits were pretty poor. Four food groups? Forget it, I only had one- junk food.
My daughter is only four days from turning 15 and one of the things we have been deliberate about family life these 20+ years has been eating meals together. There are times when the conversation may be minimal, but by spending the time together we are communicating to our children (or spouse) how valuable they are.
Earlier this week while at the dinner table, my daughter started telling us about a friend of hers who brought a bunch of candy bars to school to share with her friends. These weren't your garden-variety Snickers or Reeces- but candy bars from around the world. It got my wife and I reminiscing about candy from our childhood and before you knew it, I got my phone out (which we try to keep away from the table at this time of the day) and we were googling all these goodies. A world of candy just one click away. Kind of like baseball cards.
New father Junior Junkie sent me a bunch of goodies recently from half-way (or more!) across the country. TJ knows how much I like food-issues and has been good about including some in trade packages. This PWE was no different.
Whether a teen on the run or a bachelor, frozen foods that could be heated in the microwave were a staple. I don't recall getting any of these, though. I probably should have, as I was a bachelor at the time of their release.
Frozen foods are okay, but if you're not going to eat out, sandwiches or cereal is the way to go. Nothing says junk food like a nice big bowl of Fruity Pebbles cereal. Mmmmmm.
Thanks again, TJ, for feeding my junk food- er, food-issue addiction. And I know you haven't asked for any advice from a veteran father, but if I might be so bold to say-- be sure to carve out time at the table with that little one as he grows older. It's cliched but one day they'll be out of the house and you won't regret the time spent with them.