Summer has arrived. Our pace has slowed. We finally sat down as a family for a homemade meal. We haven’t been able to sit together and talk for weeks – long hours and busy schedules have robbed us of this time. Now, the summer stretches out endlessly before us… evenings filled with home-cooked meals, family dinners, and conversation.
“What are we going to do this summer?” I ask my family with a smile, as I pile more grilled asparagus on my fork. “Let’s go around the table and each say three things we want to do this summer. You go first, Maddie.”
Maddie jumps up out of her seat, nearly knocking her plate off the table.
“Get back in your seat, Maddie,” I tell her.
She looks at me quizzically and says nothing. I wait a few seconds and then repeat my idea. “Go ahead, Maddie. We’ll go around the table and each say three things we want to do this summer. You start.”
Maddie gets up again and starts walking as she begins, “I wanna go to the beach….”
“SIT DOWN, Maddie!” my husband and I both interrupt her simultaneously.
The look on her face is pure, four-year-old frustration. I can tell she is going to cry.
“You said!” she yells, her voice quivering with tears.
My husband and I look at each other with wrinkled brows. What is she talking about?
“Maddie,” I explain, “we are each going to say three things we want to do this summer. You’re going first. You know you should stay in your seat at the table. I don’t know why you keep getting up.”
“You said we were going to go around the table!” she shouts, arms crossed defensively in front of her.
I try to hold my laughter, but a giggle escapes. I see the gleam in my husband’s eyes as he grins at the misunderstanding.
“I meant we would take turns around the table, Maddie, not walk around the table.”
“Oh,” she replies as she plops back in her seat. “Then I wanna go to the beach, go visit Grandma, and swim in Aunt Dar’s pool.”
The summer breeze whispers through our kitchen windows as we go around the table sharing our summer plans. The meal is delicious, the time spent together is even better. My stomach and heart are full as I clear our dishes. Family dinners, summer vacations, and the delightful childhood innocence of Maddie.