In many ways, my childhood was one of constant change and transition: my dad, an oil company executive, was transferred from city to city every two years or so, meaning that my family changed homes every two years or so. In fact, this house that I'm living in now is the longest time I've ever lived in one location, and I'm still a bit stunned that we've not had to pack up and move even once during the 8 years we've lived here.
Marcus' childhood was far different: he only moved once before he was 18 years old. In fact, when we were engaged and first married, visiting his mother would mean staying in his childhood bedroom, which still held many of his books, toys and even clothes. I marvel at any adult who can return to his childhood home, and find it relatively untouched. It was like visiting a museum. The Marcus Adolescence Museum. And it was glorious.
Even though Marcus and I had such different childhoods, one thing we share is our families' insistence on family dinners together -- ones that required all electronics be put away (keeping in mind that in our childhoods, "putting away electronics" meant "getting up and hitting the on/off button on the television"). As a result, having dinner together as a family is a no-brainer in our house: the tv's off, electronics are away from the table and we sit down at the table together for dinner.
(Except for Friday nights. Friday nights are family movie nights, and we eat together in front of a movie. And when it's cold at night, we also have the fire going. We love Friday night movie night.)
Our dinners aren't fancy: Marcus usually cooks (he's an excellent cook), unless I'm in the mood for Trinidadian food, and then I cook. Sometimes we just have a salad. But regardless of what's on the menu, we share what happened during our days -- the good and the bad. Very little is censored: Alex and I know when Marcus has a bad day, and we offer advice, as they do for me, and Marcus and I do for her. We talk about light things, like funny things that happened at Alex's school. And we talk about heavy things -- like race and diversity, and world events, and what we can do to change the world -- even if it's our own tiny little portion of our world. It's one of our favourite traditions. That making the time to do this is actually proven to be beneficial for our family and for Alex never even entered the equation -- but I'm certainly pleased that this is the case. But ultimately, dinner together is just what we do. And definitely one of the favourite parts of my day.