Food is a big part of our family's rituals. Not just special occasions like holidays and birthdays, but also ordinary days. A lot of effort goes into planning and preparing meals. I have always felt time spent has been justified by the time that we sit at the table and talk. We talk while cooking, we talk while eating, then we talk some more after we have finished our meal, and then the talk continues while doing the dishes. The conversation has evolved over the years. It has usually been dictated by the stages our children were in. When they were babies, we talked about them. When they were toddlers we were often amused by their chatter during our meals. When they were in grade school we discussed what was happening in school. When they were in high school the talk usually was an information panel on who was doing what and when. As our children are slowly moving on and out, talk now consists of keeping informed of their lives. However, as they have matured, mealtime topics have also become a place to discuss social issues, politics, religion, and usually everything besides what is deemed polite conversation.
These rituals have followed the pattern that I was raised in. His family was never as vocal at meal time, or sat around the table as long as mine did. When we were first married He was a little scared of my family dinner time rituals, as they often became a cacophony of various voices that all had strong opinions, and wanted to be heard. We talked over, around, and through each other, but everyone felt heard. Even though there are theoretically opposing arguments, no one's opinion is ever discounted. He has come to love this style of family mealtime, and the rituals revolving around it. We have assimilated this style of mealtime in our own home.
With so many diverse schedules of an older family, mealtimes that include everyone become further and further apart. Early Saturday morning is usually the only time when most of us are home at the same time. I need a break from my weekly grind sometimes, and Saturday is my day off from cooking. When the kids were little this often meant cereal, (which they thought was a treat). But as they have grown older Saturday breakfast has become His way of keeping our family mealtime ritual going. He gets up Saturday mornings and makes a full breakfast. This often has meant waking up some not so happy participants. However, they do it for Him. He will try to schedule breakfast time according to the first one who has to leave for the day, (this means some return to bed after they eat). I don't think it's the food he craves so much, as it is the company and conversation of His family that He seeks.
He nurtures the conversation...
...one more reason I love Him.