Posted by Shelly
It’s been three days, and I already treasure our dinners together—even if, like last night, we eat fast food because Melissa’s sick and her sick food is McDonald’s and I use that as an excuse to get fast food myself, and then we have to wait a bit until we’re both available to sit down so it gets lukewarm (though, truly, lukewarm Bojangles is still pretty great).
Dinner at the table is one of those things that says “family” to me, even though my family only ever ate at the table for holidays and birthdays. This feeling is probably the result of a thousand pop-culture references through the years, but that doesn’t make it any less real. Melissa and I have talked a lot about family since we got together—it’s always been very important concept to her, and a fraught one for both of us.
Those discussions informed our decision to have me stay home and work on my career over the past seven months while Melissa has worked to support us both. In one way, that decision was simple: Melissa trusts me and my abilities, and we’re committed to this relationship. In another way, it’s complicated: There’s something bound up in this that has to do with fairness, and how family relationships involve selflessness, and with caring for one another in a very profound way, an intertwined sort of way that is regarded as wrong for adult relationships by so many people—and perhaps, subconsciously, by me. My ideals and heart agree that this is what a family looks like, but it’s harder to escape our culture’s individualist, self-sufficient imperative than I realized.
There is something powerful and symbolic about eating meals together that is helping me ground myself when it comes to this notion of family that has evolved between me and Melissa. Last night I said to her, “I am loving this so much more than I thought I would.”
She said, “Yeah, you know, we’re absolutely going to have to do this when we have kids.”
“We should keep doing this when it’s just us.”
“Totally. We should do it a few times a week.”
While I know that some of this joy has to do with the newness and specialness of eating together, I secretly hope we eat our meals together at the table all the time from now on.