Monday, September 5, 2011

Childhood dinners

I miss childhood dinners with my family. Especially Friday night. Otherwise known as taco night.

We'd laugh, and eat, and share stories while stuffing our faces with tacos. We would go through dozens of tacos. Cookies sheets lined with taco shells would pop out of the oven one after another. We'd stuff them so full the shells would break and fall apart. Salsa would be dripping down our arms. It was organized chaos. And we all loved it.

There were always extra kids and families eating with us on Friday night. Taco night was meant to be shared. We ate and laughed until our stomachs ached.

Now that I'm a mom I can totally appreciate all my mom went through to get four kids to sit down at the table for dinner every night.

In the summer she would stand outside ringing a big cow bell at six o'clock. It was the signal for the entire neighborhood to go home.

We'd all run straight to the kitchen because we were starving. Then were immediately shoo'd to the bathroom to wash up.

I can only imagine what the bathroom looked like when we were done.

We'd finally settle down at the table, hold hands, and close our eyes to say grace together . "God is great. God is good. Let us thank him for this food. Amen." It was short and sweet but enough. And those ten seconds gave my mom and dad a moment to breathe.

The conversation flowed from my dad updating us on his day, to what the rest of us were up to. Then the laughter would begin. It usually started with my sister asking an embarrassing  question. She was incredibly curious and uninhibited. No question was off-limits in her mind.

Today our dinners at home are much quieter with our little family of three. And sometimes we don't eat together at the table. I realize now I need to make it happen. It will keep our family connected and talking, and that's so important.

Of course we're keeping the taco night tradition alive, too. We have tacos when Elli has friends over. I don't know what it is, but something about tacos brings out the laughter and smiles in everyone.

I'm back after a little summer hiatus. I haven't participated in The Red Dress Club since they changed their name to Write on Edge. So it's a little weird. I feel like I'm going to a new school! This week the prompt was to write a memoir piece beginning with the words, “I miss my childhood...."

Feedback is always welcome. Thanks!


  1. Aw, I love this! What a wonderful I think I need to start with my own 4 kids!
    I love that your mom had to ring a cow bell for a signal for dinner...I also think I may need to start doing that ;)
    Great post!

  2. Kris, what a fantastic tradition! I love the idea of the cow bell and all the children running to their respective homes for dinner. Taco Fridays seems like a great way to start the weekend.

  3. excellent! we do taco tuesday and pancake sundays here! it's a wonderful tradition just to sit at the dinner table together, my family never did this and now i realize what we were missing!

  4. I love that idea! We try to all eat together but its so hard with different schedules!

  5. I love this. I tihnk family dinners WERE more fun then. Maybe it's because we were kids and didn't have the adult responsibilities that we do now. Thanks for sharing this great memory.

  6. Oh Kris, this is exactly what I hope for for my own children. You really captured the love and the fun of a family here- love this!

  7. This is really sweet, but I'm having trouble getting past the taco part! I love tacos! My husband made me these excellent chicken tacos when we were dating and we raved about how good they were all night. He's made them maybe twice more in the 15 years since. I'm going to ask him to make tacos! Your family definitely sounds like the one all the kids would hope to get dinner invitations from!

  8. We didn't have taco night in my house, but once a month we'd have it at my grandma's house. Maybe there is something to be said about having to assemble your food? Builds conversation, maybe?

    I'd been taking time off from TRDC too and only "came back" last week with Write On Edge. I felt leery when I posted the first time too. :-) Strange.

  9. I remember burrito night, it was always my favorite. But Friday nights were always burger night.
    But the fun was there! I hope your little family of 3 makes just as many great memories!

  10. Thanks for all the feedback everyone!

    @logyexpress you definitely need to get your hubby to make you those yummy chicken tacos
    @Jen, I highly recommend the cow bell. It's good for football games too!
    @Jen has a Pen - I felt like the new girl. Funny, huh?
    @Erin, burger night sounds good too!

  11. Eating dinner around the table at night with no tv and no phones is the only way to go. I learn so much about my kids. I have great memories of those Poling dinners too! Didn't Dave eat something like 11 tacos in one sitting? And he's a string bean! Had one of Ben's friends over for dinner a few weeks ago and he ate 10 (yes, ten!) pieces of pizza! Growing boys.....that's what I have to look forward to....;-)


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