I decided recently that we needed to get back to saying grace at dinner. Somehow, it always seems like meal times are the most hectic times in our household. I always thought this would be a wonderful bonding time to talk to each other and learn about one another’s days. Instead, I feel like a keeper feeding wild monkeys at the zoo. My 2 year old has a magical way of getting his feet from the high chair to the table where he curls his toes over the edge just to annoy his brother. Inevitably my 4 year olds peas touch his meat, which any mother knows is a fate worse than death. And without fail, my 5 month old baby decides this would be the perfect time to nurse.
Despite it all I am determined to work in a little gratitude for all that we have. I have looked up prayers that the kids might actually understand and I have prepared myself to calm the troops for just a few minutes before the chaos begins. So each night (when I remember, which is more frequent now that my little guys help to remind me) we sit down and attempt to pray.
Remarkably, this has actually turned into a routine they enjoy. Our prayer has turned into an accounting of all the things that happened throughout each of their days and everyone waits for their turn. They give thanks for a lot of things that wouldn’t cross my mind. In the beginning I wasn’t sure that this was really the time to pray for backhoes and trains and worms, but as I considered the situation I decided that maybe I should be more mindful of the little things that I’ve become too grown-up to appreciate.
It takes a while, the peas get cold and I am not sure that what we have done really counts as a prayer at all. Without fail, after everyone has said their peace and Amen has been shouted by all (literally, shouted), I hear “wait mommy, wait, we forgot to bless the birdies” and so we all fold our hands and bow our heads reverently (the only time we have done anything reverent throughout this whole process) while I say, “and God bless the birdies.” Maybe dinner time has turned out to be what I’d hoped for after all.