There we were, the four of us, around the table eating dinner. Dinnertime seems to be one of the few times during the day when we, as a family unit, are together… undistracted from the outside (other than telemarketers calling our house at the dinner hour). We are able to talk about each other’s day and get caught up.
It also seems to be a time when my wife and I continue to be vigilant with our children to ensure that everything that they are served is eaten off their plate. Just like many parents, dinner hour starts off frantically as we scramble to get dinner prepared while the kids are working on their homework in the other room…constantly yelling out to us for help when they get stuck on a question or are too lazy to answer it on their own.
Once the food is plated and on the table, we all gather round and chow down. My wife and I try our very best to give our children healthy, nutritious and tasty meals; which usually involves a protein and veggies of some kind. My younger daughter, to her credit, seems to enjoy pretty much everything we prepare with a few exceptions. My older daughter, on the other hand, is a very picky eater. Certain things she loves and asks for often (but how many times can we make her steak or shrimp or hamburgers in a row?). Other things, like vegetables and fish are not as desirable and its painful to watch her attempt to eat.
This particular meal was vegetable-laden (a beef stir fry) and Molly was pushing the food around on her plate with her fork, pretending to eat. Instead of taking forkfuls of food, she picked out the stuff she liked (the beef) and left behind everything else, the veggies….what’s the point?
My wife and I and our younger daughter finished up, cleaned up our dishes, loaded the dishwasher and left Molly at the table…as she was still pushing her food around. It was then that I told her that all the healthy, nutritious food she was pushing around she was taking for granted. I asked to imagine not eating for days. I asked to imagine having an empty belly…not having variety….not having access to various kinds of basic foods that we in Canada are fortunate enough to have easy access to. I am not writing this to ramble on about food…because all it will do is make me hungry and lord knows, I don’t need to nosh on something right now.
But I am talking about taking things (and people) for granted. How many times have you complained about the quality of your cell service in certain areas of the city as you experience a dropped call? How many times have you gone into a clothing store stocked to the rafters with product only to say that you couldn’t find anything to wear. How many times have you gone into a convenience store wondering which brand of bottled water you were going to buy? How many times did you complain that in our 300 channel universe that there is nothing good to watch on TV?
More importantly, how many times did you go to bed mad at your spouse/partner? How many times did you forget to say I love you to your children? How many excuses did you make up to not see your child perform at a school function because you were too lazy to re-arrange a business meeting? The older I get the more I realize not only how short life is, but also how important relationships our as we move through our life. I have said before that we are often our ugliest around people we love and care for the most. How stupid is that?
No one can predict what is coming around the corner. No one knows what will happen tomorrow. In all probability, the day’s events will unfold in a similar way to the day we are living right now.. but you will never know for sure.
If you are thinking to yourself that you are one of the many (myself included) who often takes things for granted…stop. When you go outside today..take a look around. Look at the sky (regardless of its colour), look at the trees and flowers. Slow down and take it all in. When you get home…be thankful for the abundance in your life. Appreciate your spouse/partner…tell them how much you love them. Finally, be with your kids…make each moment with them memorable. You co-created them, they are a part of you. Make them feel that way.
Move forward in your life never taking anything for granted.