Summer vacation has officially kicked off at the Garibaldi house! For me, the summer months mean MORE! More time in the morning, more time at the pool, lots more laundry (funny how that works…as the temperature goes up and our clothes get “smaller”, somehow the laundry hamper fills up so much faster!), more entertaining, more refereeing among the kiddos, more playdates, more ice cream treats, more movie nights, and more faces around the meal table.
One of the things I dread about sending my oldest back to school each year is having him away from home for lunch each day. Admittedly, packing lunches is not my favorite thing to do, but mostly I just miss the sweet time around the table together. And next year BOTH my kids will be gone for lunch every day, so I’ll be one sad mama come September. So why is it that when I finally have everyone home around the table for nearly every meal of the week, that time suddenly feels like such a chore?
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, breakfast, lunch, dinner…mealtime can be exhausting for a mom! And it’s no wonder! It’s one of those endless tasks like laundry and cleaning toilets that can never get crossed off a to-do list. Just as soon as one meal is completed, there is another one looming around the corner! More planning, more preparing, more serving, more cleaning…by the time we all sit down to the table, my heart and mind would often prefer to just check out. Can you relate?
I remember the days when breakfast was all to myself. Just me and my Bible, a magazine, or a stack of papers to grade. Even those papers seem more appealing now when the alternative of engaging a 4 year-old and 6-year-old in conversation requires some thought, intentionality, and quite possibly a degree in conflict resolution!
However, over the years the Lord has spoken to my heart about the need to guard this precious time with little ones at the table. The days are long but the years are so short!
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.“
(Deuteronomy 6:6-9 NIV)
We need to be purposeful as a family to use mealtime to STORE UP fun family memories, to SHARE God’s Word, and to SHAPE the hearts we have been entrusted with. The Garibaldis have come up with a number of ways to cover each of these bases and I think this week is the perfect time to give myself a little pep talk and refresher course! Maybe your mealtime could use a little makeover as well? Over the next few days I’ll share some of our best ideas in each of these three areas and we’d love to hear yours. There may even be a little prize involved!