Meal with Mom and Dad- A Year in Caloric Conversations

I love to mark a moment or give an ordinary occurrence deliberate meaning*. Often we can join our family’s attention to an ecclesiastical or communal rhythm by giving attention to it at a meal. We offer nightly, annual, or one-time rituals for many seasons or occurrences such as Advent, Lent, First Day of School, Valentine’s Day, Confirmation, family dinners, 10-year-old birthday books, bedtime blessings, baby baptisms, and Superbowl Pre-Game Parades (yes we’ve done this TWICE!). Our truly unique celebration happens annually on April 24th- our house move-in date (4/24/14) and now our yearly, home memory review and kid height measure day! We remodeled our basement but were sure to leave the height-marking trim on that door frame.
In 2023, inspired by one of my new coworkers’ family rhythms of dates with their kids, we created a plan for a year of: Meals with Mom and Dad. 
Together, Drew and I will take our kids, one at a time, to a restaurant meal of their choosing. We set the year all at once, one kid per month, and are three months in. It’s going great. And it’s high cal.
Oaks started off in January with Big Biscuit (pancake platter) where we discussed lots of his favorites, hopes, current basketball season stuff, and some would-you-rathers. Oaks was sweet and open, hungry and joyful. We like seeing Oakley playful and creative with hand drawn comics or rebuilt and storytelling LEGO battles. Oakley and Drew have a sweet and busy morning routine these days with newspaper comics, the Wordle, and the Heardle since the rest of us head to LEAD about an hour and a half earlier!
With Eli, we went on Superbowl Sunday to a Chiefs-clad Big Biscuit. It was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience to be in our community on such a hyped-up with hope day. All the red and all the bread! We had the Sticky Biscuit to share and talked a lot about faith, friends, and a little about the future. Eli has a group of five close friends, has taken to driving with a sense of control, calm and generosity to others. Since December he’s worked four nights a week at McDonalds so time with him was so precious.
Andi was tempted to veer off the norm but settled into the standard set by her brothers: Big Biscuit, March 11th. Conversation with Andi felt a little different since she shares openly all the time. The gift instead came when emotion overwhelm happened halfway through. Drew and I both teared up with love and appreciation for her. No real new news that day, just a profound moment of empathy for all she’s holding as she tries new things in sports, school, and friends. We definitely applaud her for being independent and creative, she can be alone and not be lonely, stands up for all kinds of others, and works really hard at school.
Looking forward to the rest of the year and hoping we move away from Big Biscuit soon- no offense.
*For as much as we make marking moments a hallmark of our family life, we haven’t established any big birthday traditions, like a trip at 10, 13 or 16 etc.., to pass from kid to kid. With Eli, we thought about hiking a fourteener when he was 14 or taking him on a hard hike with uncles at age 15. We were at the Magic Kingdom on Andi’s 13th which was magical but not repeatable, though she’s hoping for a sweet 16 in New York. Hmmm…

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