If I had a magic wand and could instantly just -- poof! -- change something in our lives it would be dinnertime. Or, specifically, the logistics of ours. Before Ethan was born, one of the things I was most looking forward to were family dinners. Sitting down at the table and being able to catch up on our days over dinner always seemed like an essential part of what I dreamed our days would be like. Growing up with a mom who stayed home and a dad who mostly worked at home, except for when he was traveling, we always had family dinners. And there was always that sort of importance about them and getting that uninterrupted family time where nothing else was going on and nothing else mattered. I probably romanticize the family dinner too much, but it's been two and a half years since Ethan was born and every single night we don't have one it still pangs at my heart a little bit.
Dinnertime is always something shared between just Ethan and myself. I cherish this time together, of course, but we spend the entirety of our days together and this brief period of downtime always makes me feel like something is missing. Because it is. We sit at a table crowded with art projects and books and paint pushed to the side, room enough for the two of us to sit and eat together. My husband typically gets home seconds before Ethan is in bed. If it's our lucky day, he gets home early enough to give him a bath and then put him to bed, though this is usually hit or miss. Because of that, it's always hard to stabilize a good routine. Of course, my husband and Ethan enjoy their bonding time together in that bathtime, bedtime routine but then, you know, just like that it's me throwing Ethan in the tub because daddy is working late. And late can be a toss up between Ethan seeing him before bed or seeing him in the morning before he shuffles out to work again.
Some people don't have their husbands home at all. Some people have husbands who travel, who deploy to far away places, who miss holidays and birthdays and things likely far more important than dinnertime. But on nights like tonight where I tuck Ethan all cozy in his bed, hear the garage door open and let him run out to greet daddy before turning around and walking back into bed, I get all sad about it. And I wish for some semblance of routine, something predictable in how our evenings will go, something other than a text from my husband letting me know when he's able to leave work. Last night, it was nearly past my bedtime, let alone Ethan's. Today, my husband ate his reheated dinner on the couch after Ethan had gone to bed. It sounds silly, maybe, but the idea of having dinner together as a family at the end of the day seems the closest thing to magic that I can imagine exists in this world. For Ethan to be able to tell his daddy what he did today instead of me recapping it for him later on. For that downtime as the crazy afternoon turns into a laid back evening to be shared together as a family, catching up, exploring what our days were like. Yeah, I think I would take it over the promise of winning the lottery or a bigger house with room enough for all of Ethan's art projects and supplies or anything else that I half-jokingly wish for in conversation on a regular basis.
But, you know, maybe one day.