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Family Time

February 12, 2018

Back in December I wrote about The Quite Demise of Family Dinner. Having a daily blog is a lot like having a diary. In this case, it’s useful to see that the state of Family Dinner has actually improved a bit from its nadir at the end of last year.

It does not feel like an improvement however.

The encouraging writer might try to tell readers how to make Family Dinner work despite it all. What I find amazing is how hard it is to execute three evenings at home around the dinner table with two kids who aren’t into sports, and two parents who both have pretty flexible schedules.

Giving advice on the matter to single parents, families of athletes, or those homes with two full time working parents seems like the hight of hubris. That said, there are a couple of things we are doing to try and improve the situation.

For starters, we’re putting Family Dinner on the calendar.

That simple act helps in a couple of ways. At the very basic level, it lets us know how we’re doing, as Family Dinner becomes easier to see. This week, for example, we only have two nights where we’re all together in the evening around the table.

Also, by scheduling Family Dinner, it can be easier to protect. Holes in the calendar have a way of getting filled with work events. A great example is how I accidentally scheduled a phone call for the evening of Valentines Day.

Don’t worry. Mrs. Fussy and I have other plans. Wednesday was terrible anyway because I have to drive the kids out to Schenectady for religious school.

Last night’s Family Dinner was arugula and walnut pesto. We’ve hoarded our stash from last summer long enough. Heck, winter is almost over. The problem with last night, was that we all wolfed down our meals super fast. In part because we all love that pesto, and it’s been so long since we’ve had it. But I also wonder how much of our speed eating was a result of us being out of the habit of Family Dinner.

The point of the exercise isn’t just to eat as a family, but also to talk with one another, catch up on life, and check in with loved ones. Eating slower helps. And the more you do it, the easier it gets. What was a little bit worrying was how quickly we’ve forgotten how to have a civilized meal.

But I’m not going to make too big of a deal out of it. Now that we’ve noticed something is amiss, we’re making corrections, and moving forward.

Our hope is to also get some more non-dinner family time on the books. And man, that can be really hard, especially as the kids get older and their interests diverge. Which is one reason why I’m thrilled that my mishpacha is going to join me for the next Official Yelp Event this Saturday.

After years of organizing free events for adults only, I’ve finally put together a family friendly one with the good people at MopCo. I was talking with Michael Burns and the Improv Company loves doing family shows. Kids of all ages get into it from the moody teens who get dragged by their parents, to the littlest ones who certainly aren’t getting even half of the jokes. It’s kind of amazing. And I’ve witnessed the phenomenon first hand.

Anyway, we are going to start off with grilled cheese sandwiches and hot dogs from the concession stand before the show. Balloon Gal Jenny will be there twisting balloon sculptures for kids three and older who eat quickly. And then we’re all going to laugh ourselves silly as we watch the most talented group of local improv performers do their thing in this converted historic fire station which is now an intimate theater. And yes, it’s a theater where you can typically get delicious adult beverages, but for Yelp’s Family Night, the taps are turned off.

Right now, there is still some room available on the guest list. So if this sounds like a fun thing to do with your family on an early Saturday evening, dust off your Yelp profile, and submit an RSVP. Even if you don’t have kids, you can still come, because the local Yelp community is a family too. At least it is for me.

Which means if you’ve got a Yelp profile, even if we’ve never been in the same place before, you’re just like one of those distant cousins I’ve never met. The metaphor might need some work, but go with me on this. Regardless, it’s going to be a fun night. And hopefully if everyone has a good time, it can be the start of a new family tradition.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Jean Patiky permalink
    February 12, 2018 4:00 pm

    Love this post!!

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