Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Little bits of history repeating...

When I was a kid, I was always upset that we didn't have sit-down family dinners. 21st Century Grandpa ran his own business and often only came home to catch a quick nap and shower in the middle of the night before heading back to the office. 21st Century Grandma had gotten sick of preparing a dinner that often sat untouched. Eventually I was so wrapped up in dance and gymnastics that my dinner consisted nightly of the Arby's drive-thru. The occasions I ate dinner at a friend's house at the table with their families were magical, and I envied them silently, not daring to admit my family did not adhere to the traditional family routine. (As an aside, this was in the days before the coining of the phrase "soccer mom," so I had no idea there were other families out there who lived off fast food from the comforts of their station wagons and, eventually, minivans.)

I vowed at a young age not to repeat it with my own kids.

It worked out well when The Kid was young. While completing my undergrad, I worked parttime, a few hours here, a few hours there, so that I made it home in time to make a good healthy family dinner. My George Foreman Grill and I were an unstoppable tag-team, creating all sorts of delectible dishes together.

Now, between work and school, The Kid and I stumble in together around 6 and are so hungry that he has already snacked in the car and the most I have the patience to do is peel the plastic off a Lean Cuisine and wait 2 min 45 sec for it to heat. (The Kid tends to stick with granola bars in the car and mac and cheese fresh from the microwave.) No one eats one cohesive meal, and no one eats it in conversation with another human. The Kid is usually engrossed in Reader Rabbit, I have the newspaper or my computer, and 21st Century Grandparents, if they are even home, are wrapped up in their own activities as well.

I attempt desperately to make up for it on the weekends, but it usually ends up being some gooey, rich Italian dish -- by week's end, I'm in need of comfort food: carbs, cheese, and more carbs.

21st Century Grandma tends to make me feel guilty for my lack of "tradition" in The Kid's and my routine. Obviously, she has forgotten what our 'tradition' was -- they say history repeats itself, and they were damn right...

I miss my George Foreman.

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