My work schedule has been eccentric over the years, but I still manage to gather the troops most nights for a sit-down dinner.
The downside is we end up eating closer to 9 p.m. than anything else. I used to tell the babes that we subscribed to the European model and let them graze until I got home and could make dinner. Ah, the stories we tell our children!
Recently, we’ve been stretching dinner out even later. My youngest, unlike her siblings, actually has some major after-school activities and she doesn’t get back from them until 9 or 9:30 p.m. Thankfully, her sporting season is over now, but she’s substituted driver’s education and we still see her closer to 9 p.m. when we all sit down for food before going off to our usual night-time activities.
So it was with a sense of unreality that we all sat down to dinner at 6:30 p.m. one day earlier this week.
First there were the vampire jokes (The Light! It Burns!!!). Then there was the quietness — no phone calls from people who refuse to remember we eat late and call us at 9 p.m. Then there was the sense of eating lunch instead of dinner. And there was the unexpected free time when the food was gone and it was hours before everybody’s usual bedtime.
With the days getting longer, we’ll probably be seeing more of each other in the daylight even with our usual dinner time, and the traditional daylight jokes will be trotted out and tried one more time. For us, it’s one of the rituals of summertime. Other families may change their winter plastic tablecloths for summer ones or use brightly colored plastic plates. We hone our vampire jokes.