Twice a week my wife, daughter, parents and I have dinner together. My dad insisted that we start doing this because it seemed our family was devolving into a group of roommates. Even though we live closer to each other now than we have since I was a kid, my parents and I would sometimes go days without having a face-to-face conversation. So we started scheduling a family dinner. No one is exempt. Miss it at your own peril.
This week, I missed dinner both nights.
On the one hand, missing dinner brought with it a severe tongue-lashing from my dad. I don't like getting tongue-lashings from my dad. Not only are they unpleasant, the sting lingers. For the few days that follow, there is this underlying theme to all our conversations that reminds me of his disappointment.
On the other hand, missing dinner made me feel like my week was incomplete. I didn't quite expect that. We have only been doing our dinners for a short while, but when I missed them this week, I realized that I have already started looking forward to the days when we sit down around the table as a family. Even though I didn't make dinner either night for valid reasons, I had to ask myself if they were good reasons.
What I realized is that the list of good reasons for missing our family dinners is getting shorter by the day. I am confident that very soon I am going to tell someone I can't meet with them at a particular time, "because that's when we have our family dinner." That will be a triumph in my book.
And I believe my dad knew that would ultimately happen when he made us all start sitting down for dinner. They say that the older you get, the smarter your parents become. This is another opportunity for me to bear witness to the truth in that saying. I just wish my dad would stop being right so often.
Karl Douglass, Columbus native and resident, is a frequent commenter on local, state and federal politics. Follow him on Twitter@KarlDouglass or facebook.com/karldouglass.