This morning we had one of those mornings that could have gone in a couple different directions.
Up until a little over a year ago, we ate about 99.9% of our meals in the kitchen.
The only time we ever ate in the dining room was when we celebrated a birthday or on Thanksgiving.
It was a little easier to just throw food on the counter for the kids when they sat in the kitchen.
But there isn’t enough room for all the kids to sit in the kitchen.
This is how we ate before Number 7 was even in existence.
Even when Number 1 and Number 2 graduated from high school and were off doing their own thing, the younger five were all older and bigger. The high chair was long gone and the little baby table was gone and there just wasn’t enough room for the kids to eat comfortably at the counter.
So in 2017 when I cleared off the mountain of laundry from the dining room table for the thousandth time, I vowed we were going to eat in there from now on so everyone had enough room to sit and eat a civilized meal.
Because the kids would literally be on top of each other in the kitchen and then the HE’S TOUCHING ME!!! fights would begin.
There is plenty of room for everyone to eat comfortably in the dining room.
And we eat all of our meals there now.
Sometimes breakfast in the dining room is just like a Norman Rockwell/Leave It To Beaver picture of perfection.
The kids are talking and laughing and eating and getting along so nicely.
But sometimes they are still getting on each other’s nerves.
Teenagers can be a little cranky in the mornings.
And sleepy eight-year-olds who hate going to school can also be a little bit short on patience.
Today was one of those getting-on-each-other’s-nerves mornings.
One kid was touching the feet of another kid, and that was basically the worst thing ever and a whole bunch of bickering and arguing followed.
And my initial reaction — which I completely stifled and holy cow did that take a lot of self control — was to just go off on all of them for not appreciating this nice room they get to eat in along with the fact that their (AMAZING) mother had made them bagels and cream cheese and hot chocolate and f&%$ing bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches ON A TUESDAY MORNING and I was pretty sure close to none of their friends’ parents were doing that for them and why couldn’t they just SHOW A LITTLE GODDAMNED APPRECIATION AND GRATITUDE.
I took a deep breath as the GET YOUR FEET OFF OF MY FEET!!! bickering was escalating.
And I reminded the kids that we had moved into the dining room to eat fifteen months ago so that we could all have plenty of room to eat.
And they all kind of paused and reflected.
But one child in particular was still upset.
And instead of sending him into the kitchen where he could eat in solitude which is what I really wanted to do so he would just finish his damn breakfast, I looked at a very frustrated Number 6 and I asked him,
“Do you need a hug?”
“YES,” he answered emphatically.
But so did Number 5.
She jumped up and gave me a hug.
Then I walked over to Number 6 and gave him his hug.
It was a hugfest! And everything was better.
I don’t think anyone really paused to reflect on how lucky they were to have a cozy dining room and good food and a bunch of siblings to hang out with every morning.
But everyone had calmed down.
And there was no arguing anymore.
Sometimes when things are escalating, rather than yelling at everyone and beating them over the head with how lucky they are, the best solution is just to hug it out and show them.
Don’t underestimate the power of a hug.