I have rules and routines and procedures for everything.  You know this.  My daughter does too- so much so that is what she wrote her common app essay about.  We thrive on having lists and often do things rote.  It works for us.

One of the oldest rules we have is my meal rule.  When my daughter was in pre school, the year when the stream of activity begins, I made a rule.  Unless someone was out of town, we had to eat three family meals.  It could be breakfast, lunch or dinner, but the three of us had to be around the table together three times per calendar week.

Last week, for the first time in thirteen years, we were not able to do this.

When I was doing my Sunday prep work a few weeks ago, I looked at my calendar, looked at everyone’s commitments and shook my head. Work outings, college meetings, prior engagements, busy lives,  equaled the three of us barely being at home at the same time.

And it made me think of the future.

This rule has gotten us through my daughters formative years.  It has helped us as a family – because we were able to check in with one another- we knew when something was troubling us, we knew what was going on in one another’s lives.  Spending facetime, no phones or electronics, does really help communication.  And we all know communication leads to relationship success, or increases your chance of success anyway.

But I have now faced the harsh reality. Our days of family meals are almost over.  My days with my daughter living down the hall is almost over. There will be new rules and procedures put in place (you know I will have some sort of weekly phone call plan) but my life is about to change.

Ready or not, here it comes.  Glad I have seven months to prepare.

46 thoughts on “When the Rules Can’t Work

  1. It will feel like the worst of times. It will suck in ways you can’t imagine, and you will ache for her in places you didn’t know existed.
    But it will also be a beautiful opportunity to learn to love each other in entirely new and different ways! The transition is treacherous, but one you’ve lived through it, the other side is a lovely new adventure! ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

  2. What robynbird said. I didn’t expect to feel the way I did when my son left, but it just felt like the end of a really happy time in my life, and I missed him terribly. You will be OK, but it’s an adjustment. The silence can be deafening.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. When the boys were in school, we always had dinner together. I believe too that that builds a togetherness you can’t get otherwise. Of course when they got older and had afterschool sports, the schedule changed. But you’re doing good, mom. My son now has his own children, and they sit around the kitchen table every night for dinner. It’s sometimes the only time they/we can hear about each other’s lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am most definitely a list person as well and change is a process for me…I have gotten better at embracing it but it doesn’t come naturally…sending you support in this time of transformation…here’s to new chapters!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I know the feeling! Our tradition is Sunday supper – which gets shoved aside from October to April when my husband and myself host a practice session at the local competitive rifle club on Sunday evenings. I find myself missing seeing my family gathered around the table and the routine of selecting a tasty, nourishing meal for all of us. I’m stunned this is the first time you’ve missed the opportunity – that is an accomplishment!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. When I was growing up we had family dinner every night. Once I was married and the kids started coming we rarely had family dinners because my husband had odd work hours and severe stomach issues (ulcers) that eventually led to two surgeries. Even when his stomach was better, we rarely sat at the table together. Sometimes we’d all eat in the living room. Now that the kids are out of the house, Thanksgiving and Christmas are the only times we are all together. I miss those family dinners but it just didn’t work for us.

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  7. We had family dinner for 5 almost 7 nights every week when my kids were growing up. By the time I had one child left and it was just the 2 of us (my marriage ended between the first and second leaving for college) I knew it would be an adjustment when she left. I was ready at the time for my own life. Everyone expects it to be awful but it can also be a wonderful new beginning.

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      1. My mom and I were extremely close and spent several days a week together when my children were little and my dad was at work. It was wonderful but she died in 2000.
        It’s hard not to be able to repeat that pattern.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I can imagine. It’s funny. I just assume my daughter and I will not live near one another when she’s done with school. I love my mom, but I have to keep a distance

        Liked by 1 person

      3. My mom assumed that too and we both stayed close. My sister lived a block away from our parents! You could see their house from her bedroom window! But geography aside, I was much closer to my mom and my daughter who I just visited and now miss so much and I are very close 💗 in other ways.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I had to tell my wife this week that it’s time for her to stop considering if the kids have seen a movie before we watch it. They don’t live here anymore. We can’t stop watching movies because they aren’t here to watch them with us. It’s hard.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. We had a similar situation when my daughter was in ninth grade. We’d gotten so used to doing family things on the weekend, I had to get my husband to realize that we no longer needed to think about her likes when w3 made weekend plans

      Like

  9. It must be hard with everyone’s busy schedules. How do you deal with it? Doesn’t it hurt more than it should? I only mean that we all know this is meant to happen when the kids grow up. Then how does one prepare for it? Because to me, it feels like even with all the time in the world one can never have enough of their kids.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It didn’t really hurt till I thought about it the other day. How I’m getting through it? I don’t know…I’ll tell you when I figure it out!

      Like

  10. I am always baffled about the family dinner thing, of course we eat dinner together, every night for the most part. I have always been careful about how many activities my son does outside of school. Kids need unstructured play time and families need together time. I guess I am just old school and refuse to succumb to the “kids need to be entertained every free minute they have” philosophy. He’s 11 now so maybe things will change come high school but for now he has no idea other families don’t eat together every night. Now if I could just get him to help with dinner/dishes without complaining!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you figure out how to get him to clean up without complaining please fill me in! Most of the families I know don’t eat together most nights, but it’s everyone’s schedules, not just kids. Like last week, my husband had either a work or social commitment every night….it just worked out that way. Good job keeping your sons life balanced

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Change is good. You wont have your family meals but you will still have each other. The phone calls will replace your meals. It’s an exciting time for both of you. You will have more time to pursue your dreams and so will she. Look at all of the things you will have to talk about!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Each stage has wonderful things in it. I hope your rewards will come quickly. While reading your post, I paused to be thankful that we had many meals together. We lived in the suburbs, too far to walk to activities, and John commuted to the city. Things were much easier when he worked locally.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. 😔….But on a positive note, I think I speak to my daughter more now than when she lived at home!! She texts me on and off just about daily, and comes over at least every other weekend. 🤷🏽‍♀️ I’m glad we have such a close relationship. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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