My kids just scarfed down their lunch and ran away from the table.
“Gotta go, bye!”
And then they shot out of the door and across the street to play with the neighbors. This happened for the first time a few weeks back. Today was the third time. And we didn’t see it coming at all. Let me explain.
We’ve had family meals together since the kids were born. We sit, we talk, we ask questions about the day, we laugh—always together. Of course we’ve had plenty of days where someone was frustrated or distracted. Our family time is far from perfect. But with few exceptions, we’re always there together until everyone finishes their meals. It’s something my wife and I both believe in and value.
And if you think about it over the long run, those 30 minutes a day add up to over 180 hours a year together, doing something we all need to do anyways.
But all of a sudden, our kids have run away.
Now, I couldn’t be happier with why they’ve left. They’ve met good friends that they’ve really connected with since we moved to Indiana. And that’s really one of the best things you can ask for as a parent.
But I also know it previews more to come. Before long, they won’t come home for meals. At first, it’ll be nights out with friends. Then it’ll be moving out of the house to continue their own lives.
While it can be sad, it should be also seen as a wake up. Every meal we have with them is a gift. It’s time we have to spend together. To laugh, tell stories, and connect as a family.
If your kids are still too young to run away from the table, realize that it will come faster than you know. There might even be some meals you wish you could run away. But while you can, savor those meals together.
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