Family time, especially mealtime, has always been precious to us, but even more so now that College-Boy and Mini-Me are pursuing higher education thousands of miles away and we are feathering our empty nest.
Catching a glimpse of their smiling face is no longer something we can do by simply walking down the hall or sitting down at the kitchen table. So when they come home to visit we look forward to our meals together and, even more so, our evening ritual.
After dinner we all like to settle in and curl up on the couch (or if we’re on vacation we pile on the bed) and watch TV. Mini-Me and I get sandwiched between Big Daddy and College Boy, (6’3 and 6’4), so it gets pretty cozy.
After a few minutes of intense negotiations over what to watch (one wants a chick flick, the other an adventure) and who chose the movie last time, we all agree on a comedy.
Then we try to agree on the volume. I think everything is too loud (I’m not old, I just have supersonic hearing) and they think nothing is loud enough.
And this is how it goes night after night. Side by side, pressed against each other without the awkward boundaries of typical teens. It’s as if they’re little again. Laughing and carefree, giving a recap of the funniest lines while the movie is still playing. I notice we even cross our feet in the same direction.
The sheer delight of experiencing belly laughs in person, not by phone or by text (“LOL”) is a gift. Now that both live away, having everyone under the same roof at the same time is often a rarity. Every moment becomes precious. Even when we’re arguing over the remote.