I don’t know what the dynamics are like at your house around the dinner table, but they are often quite comical at ours. Just when you think everyone is getting along, having intelligent conversations and truly enjoying one another’s company (not terribly unlike like an old episode of The Waltons), one of my three children makes a conscious effort to stir the pot. Yes, they’re tweens. How did you guess?
Case in point: last night, we were all having a lovely conversation about energy conservation—I was beaming with pride thinking my kids had actually somehow absorbed all of my persistent nagging about turning off lights and taking quick showers, bordering on a self-righteous smugness. All of a sudden my son bursts out with, “That’s disgusting! You’ve ruined the entire plate of fruit. Your germs are everywhere. Mom!!!!!!”
My daughter just couldn’t take the fact that her brother had seemed quiet and content, so she conceived and executed a plan to sabotage the fruit plate by picking up the strawberries and licking each and every one of them until she caught her brother’s attention. It was brilliant, actually.
Of course, her brother didn’t see it that way—no way could she ever win a battle with him, ever—so he decided to get up from the table and ignore her for the rest of the night. And my brief moment of thinking I had reared eco-responsible children faded into the reality that they are still just kiddos… and yes, they may think responsibly about the environment, but no, they’re not quite grown up. They still delight in getting each other’s goat.
But I was reminded of something about myself as well, which is that in spite of the ensuing mealtime ruckus, I was secretly delighted, too. There is something about their youthful energy that ignites that fun, mischievous side of me in the process, and I truly hope that naughty playfulness never fades away.
The whole episode also made me realize our family is probably a whole lot more Modern Family than The Waltons. Sigh.
Live the moment,