Thursday, October 07, 2010

Ten Star Service


At the beginning of the school year we cleaned off our cluttered dining room table and decided to attempt family meals together. Many have already discovered the beauty of family dining, but we’ve been a little slow to join this crowd. For the past few years we’ve generally made due with kids eating in the breakfast area and my husband and I sitting close by at the island. We knew this arrangement wouldn’t last forever, but it’s what we had become accustomed to.

Last year and the year before that the dining room table was my ten-year-old’s school work area, so between homeschooling classroom space, soccer practices, and a traveling husband who is rarely home for dinner we just didn’t give much thought to formal meal time.

Sensing it was time for a change I moved the school work area to the breakfast nook and announced all meals would now be at the dining room table. You might have thought I informed them we were going to Disney World! I had no idea what kind of enthusiasm this decision would generate. From the very moment we made the switch I’ve had four eager meal planners and service attendants vying for their chance to be the one who cooks, sets, serves and cleans. We even have an event planner each evening – because no dinner is complete without a dinner game and Ten Star Service.

At the center of our dinner event planning is a little box given to us a few years ago by some friends of ours (thanks Ferdie & Maria). Inside the box are dozens of little cards that suggest dinner conversation starters, games and ideas for family bonding. Some of our favorites are Word Whisperers, Ten Star Service, Pass the Pepper and Family Star. This is truly the highlight of our dinner. Each evening there is a great deal of discussion that precipitates exactly what we will be doing during dinner besides eating. And I am usually the last to find out just what game we will be playing and what cartoon character I may have to impersonate.

We’ve been laughing a lot lately and many evenings I arrive at a beautifully set table accompanied by a server with a folded towel over his arm waiting to take my order. On these occasions I find my daughters have created menus to go along with the dinner festivities. This is truly as the dinner card would suggest, “Ten Star Service.”

It makes me wonder why we didn’t try this sooner. I suppose we’ve been so busy that we weren’t paying attention – just so caught up in the routine of life.

This past week we were sitting around our newly broken-in dinner table and grabbed hands ready to pray. Just before we started, my six-year-old piped, “It’s like a decoration around the table. Look at our hands! They make a decoration.”

It was then that it struck me. My daughter was right - we were all together. There were no missing ingredients. It was the perfect decoration. Food, dinner games and Ten Star Service aside there is nothing more I would rather my table be decorated with then the faces of the ones I love.