Take any magazine with the word "family" in it and there will be this suggestion: Make time for dinner at the table with everyone present at least 3-4 times per week. Sit down. Pratice the art of conversation. Kindly suggest some manners and just be together with no (apparent) distractions to pave the way for family bonding.
This oft-repeated advice aslo seems to suggest common sense, but lately....I've been wondering about this advice. The bonding part seems to be a struggle for us.
Here is a glimpse of our latest "conversation."
Me: "So the dentist told me I need to stop chewing gum. It's making my jaw click."
Thing 1: "What?"
Me: "The dentist told me I need to stop chewing gum because my jaw is starting to click."
Thing 1: " What?"
Me: "My jaw is clicking."
Thing 1: "Why?"
Big man: "She just said it's because she chews gum."
Thing 1: "What's clicking?"
Big man: "Her jaw!'
Thing 2: "Why are we talking about your jaw?"
Soon Big Man is laughing and and I am snorting. What other choice is there in a time like this?
Thing 2: " I was wasn't paying attention. I was feeling distracted."
Me: "By what? There is nothing else happening here!"
Thing 1: "I still don't get why your jaw clicks. Can you make it stop?"
This time Big man snorts and I laugh. The kids shake their heads, still lost and confused in this land of "family bonding."
There is always tomorrow, but I am not making any promises.