When the children were younger we managed to get all of us around the dinner table five or six evenings a week. Thingschanged a bit post-lockdown though – the kids are older and have more activities and friends to see. With my work now it means I’m not always around early evenings.
But now we very rarely miss a Sunday dinner together. It used to be lunchtimes, then it drifted to about 3 p.m. and now we do it early in the evening. Almost a religious thing, you could say. No TV or music on and definitely no phones at the table.It’s become my favourite time of the week. I do the traditional thing – a roast of some kind and if not all the trimmings, then at least two thirds of them – which I vary from week to week, just to keep a little bit of a surprise going. But it’s not really about the food – as yummy as they tell me it is – it’s about getting together and sharing what’s been going on and what’s happening in a bit more detail than we all get via a text or snatched ten seconds crossing paths at the front door.
When I think about it that dining table – only the second one we’ve had in nearly 20 years – has seen a lot over the years. It carries some great memories; about ten Christmases, countless kids’ parties (even if they didn’t exactly sit there quietly while they were eating!), breakfasts, lunches and dinners too many to mention. And it’s come in handy for other things over the years.
‘Mum, I’ve got this art project to do…’ Cue handy dining table – even though it meant dinner in front of the TV for the next couple of evenings. That table saw more than a few school textbooks and exercise books spread out over it for a few years. And at weekends our (unintentionally) multipurpose table was heavily utilised as various arts and crafts projects were undertaken. I had to draw the line though when one of the girls wanted to use oil paints – fearing our table would never be re-commandeered for its day (or evening) job. Or of course, that there might be an accident! Water colours remained the medium of (my) choice for our budding young artists.
Working from home
The dining table was particularly useful in the early lockdown days. It became a hive of activity with two laptops sitting opposite each other for about ten hours a day – both with an assortment of paperwork strewn either side as we navigated ‘WFH’ for the first time. Like many others we quite enjoyed it – I started work earlier, didn’t have to commute and of course, had opportunities to tick off a few chores during the day.
Nice dreams, nicer reality
Sometimes after a long day working at home during that lockdown, I imagined the dining table was a raft – and that I was on it, gently drifting close to shore near an idyllic island somewhere warm and far away. Then it was back to reality and looking forward to the family sat around it come Sunday, 6 p.m.