As my younger daughter gets ready to go off to art school on the East Coast, I've been reflecting on the 18 seasons of school-year routines that are about to come to an end. In the more hectic and fast-paced months of the school year, what kinds of practices helped keep our family close?
(My college-bound daughter and me on vacation this summer:)
Sit down, weekday breakfasts were the first that came to mind. I set the breakfast table and sat down with my two girls every day before school. These weekday morning meals were nothing elaborate...cereal, toast, oatmeal…the occasional scrambled egg. Often, the girls and I weren't even eating the same things. And most mornings, in the pre-sunrise 7 o’clock hour of Pacific Northwest winter, no one said much of anything, preferring instead to quietly read the paper or just stare off into space.
Even with the silence, I firmly believe this practice of starting the day in each other’s presence helped us build a strong foundation of family cohesion. It gave the beginning of each day just a drop of peace—calm before the storm of activity.
(Me and My Girls:)
This year, if you have school-age children, I encourage (maybe even challenge) you to try this at home: set the breakfast table for a week and sit down. Does it feel any different to start the day together? Maybe it will become a new tradition.