What were family dinners like when you were growing up? Is there a special meal that has been handed down through the family?
Family dinners at my house were awkward. Around the table sat my parents, my mom’s parents, my dad’s mom, my parents, and me. (My younger brother and sister usually ate before we did.) My grandparents, all of whom lived with us, sat at one end of the table saying pretty much nothing, while my parents sat on the other end loudly arguing over anything and everything. I sat at the middle of the table, mostly invisible.
That was the only interaction at dinner. My parents fighting. Occasionally I would be asked about something or other, like had I finished my homework, did I change the baby’s diaper that my mom asked me to do, did I drink all the orange juice. These questions were fired at me in accusatory tones, as if I was already deemed guilty about whatever it is they asked about.
I didn’t have to ask to be excused from the table and anyway, I was always the last one done. Everyone else just left whenever they were finished.
Although I don’t have fond memories of sharing meals with my family, I have a more positive experience eating with my husband’s family. No one treats me like I’m invisible, and they actually speak to one another, myself included.
What were your family dinners like?