Family Dinner

Last week in my Family Therapy course we did an exercise in which the class divided into groups of about six. In those groups, we then discussed our childhood experiences with “Family Dinner”. It is moments like this that remind me how awesomely weird my family is! Such a delight!

Let’s see, two in my group were an only child. Their experience was that dinner happened at times, and didn’t happen at other times. Sometimes they’d sit at the table, and sometimes they’d sit in front of the TV. And other times they wouldn’t sit together at all. Another in my group was one of two—her experience was very much the same. Another girl shared that her family ate dinner together, but it was more “they come, they eat, they leave”; she said it was more about the food than the experience really. And the last girl described her mother as “the most amazing chef”. Her mother would make exquisite menus nightly; then while the four daughters ate, their mother would go work out. Then there was my family…

Oh gee, where to start. Think Cheaper by the Dozen here. For the most part, dinner was a sit down event every night. It was about more than food; it was a party really. Eight kids each with assigned seats to prevent fighting, food dished in advance to ensure no one starved, and then of course there was always the guest, or two, or three, or eight…seriously though. In my house whether you were legally part of the family or not, all present were officially deemed family. I remember at times cramming double our family size around our already massive table. I suppose you could say we view everyone at the table as family.

Then of course there was the dialogue: there were funny stories, blunt and excessively detailed medical stories (thanks to my parents: one’s a surgeon and the other a nurse), discussion of what everyone learned during the day, morals that my dad concocted out of anything and everything, teasing, laughter, and more laughter. There was always someone jokingly provoking another sibling by tapping them under the table or sneaking food from another’s plate…that or it was my dad who then pretended like he hadn’t the foggiest as to what just happened. And naturally, there was the occasional sibling quarrel that resorted in dismissal followed by running to a bedroom in a dramatic fit. The cherry on top was when a door slam accompanied those elaborate exits; those remaining at the table would get fits of the giggles (often triggered by the pops) while my mom gave us the “shush” eye until she started to crack up too. So funny! Seriously, family dinner is by far one of my favorite memories.

Still, family dinner did not simply end with a devoured meal; in fact, before anyone left the table we then had family scripture study. We routinely and passionately opened and closed scripture study with a song. And at the Price household we really only ever sang…and still only sing… Primary Songs from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Children's SongbookJesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam, The Wiseman and the Foolish Man, I am Like a Star Shining Brightly, Book of Mormon Stories, then of course my dad’s favorites: This Little Light of Mine (which is not technically a Primary Song) and Give Said the Little Stream. And we just love the songs with actions! Our versions also tend to have some of the most unique harmony, back up singing, gospel choir-esque moments, and even segments of “Primary Rap”. We love singing.

As for scriptures, I’d like to say we were always focused…at times we most definitely were. Still it seems some of my favorite memories include the ones in which siblings (and many times the parents) burst out laughing over a hundred different things. The scriptures really can be humorous; I think some of the wittiest writers are those prophets who allow personality to show through their text. Not to mention, it seems all too often a scripture is read that perfectly coins a recent family discussion; at those moments you can’t help but to burst out laughing.  I am a firm believer that God has a sense of humor! And let's be honest, the spirit can absolutely be present when you’re laughing just as much as it can be present when you’re not.

I’ve further decided that one of the greatest bonding experiences among siblings comes from trying to communicate silently during scripture study. I’m not entirely sure why, but it’s a lot more fun to discretely attempt to send messages when you know you probably shouldn’t. From such attempts two would snort and start laughing, then three, then four…then last the mom and dad. I’d maturely like to defer responsibility to another, however I fear all too many of those “laugh attacks” were instigated by yours truly.

Love laughing! Love family dinner! Love the scriptures! Love my family! And love family dinner with the Hubby!  And that's my Family Dinner!

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