A Dinner Dance

“What are we having for dinner tonight, Mom? I can smell something good!”

I do the same dance most nights of the week:

Chopping, boiling, sauteing, baking.

Pouring milk, plating entrees, adding a treat.

Dodging a toddler, breaking up bickering brothers, commiserating with my husband.

The kitchen is crowded even when I am the only person in it, and it become impossible when a small child wanders in looking for a drink or a Leggo they thought they left on the counter.

Tempers flare when fanned with hunger and exhaustion. Arguments and less-than-loving tones are routine.

The oven beeps. The microwave dings. Plates and cups and silverware and vitamins get placed on the table.

“Tell your brother dinner is ready, please.”



Tripping over each other to get to the table.

“What are we having? What’s there?”

“I don’t like this!”

“MMMM! I love this!”

“Can I have more?”

“I haven’t even sat down yet. You can wait.”

Something always spills. Someone always cries.

“Alice, take your shoes off. Why is your coat still on?”

Plates are refilled. Days are discussed.

The table is full of noise every night–sometimes happy, sometimes grumpy, almost always a crazy combination.

“I’m done!”

“Me too!”

“Take care of your plate! WITH TWO HANDS!”

Suddenly Cortney and I are the only two left at the table. My plate is clean, his still half full.

We both sigh because neither wants to get up and start the clean-up/homework/bath dances.

The dinner dance, however, is over for another evening.

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. CAROLYN DeBoer says

    It’s a normal all the American household. At least you try and you’re cooking at home and having family time that’s the most important. Keep smiling as soon they will grow up and you will say I miss those days. They grow up faster than you think enjoy them!

    • Dinner with the family was mandatory when I was a kid. I thought it was so annoying then, but boy do I love that my parents made us do it then. Even though it’s crazy, I still love it now too.

  2. It sure does sound familiar. Our brood is a little older and bigger but the gist of it is the same.

    • It’s totally how I grew up: mandatory family dinners 5 nights a week. As a teen, I thought it was a drag, but man. I am totally thankful for it now!

  3. The concept of family dinner outside of Thanksgiving is foreign to me (from childhood, so I’m not sure why it was an automatically normalized thing in our home. Maybe because it’s normal?). Anyway, know that the tears get replaced by attitude eventually but I think they still enjoy being around the table, altogether, most nights and they still tell dumb jokes, so we’re good. Did you hear about the Italian chef?

    He pastaway.

  4. I adore this picture you created.
    I hope you’ll repeat the exercise in a couple of years and then do a comparison. Our family dinners are something I look back on so fondly.