Growing up as one of ten children there were a number of rules that we had to live by. These included, but were not limited to:
- Be home for dinner on time.
- Eat what was on your plate before getting up from the dining table.
- Landline phone was taken off the hook as to not disturb family meal time.
- No sleeping over at other people’s houses.
When I was growing up all the neighborhood kids played outside after we got our homework done, prior to dinner. My mom (other moms too) would ring a bell, which signified that we needed to come home for dinner. We couldn’t get up from dinner, (actually, any meal) until we had eaten all of the food. This was difficult in the morning when we had oatmeal, which was gross.
My dad was a doctor who worked quite long hours and was the Chief of Staff for 40 years at the hospital he worked at. It was important to both of my parents that dinner time was spent together, without being interrupted. My dad carried with him a beeper if the hospital was trying to reach him.
We also weren’t allowed to sleepover at other people’s houses. When we were growing up, kids didn’t have as many sleepovers as they do now.
I didn’t understand it then, but certainly do now. All these rules were about spending quality time together as a family, making sure we all got the food and sleep we needed, and staying out of trouble. It was also a way of establishing a routine, which with 10 kids (did I mention I had 9 siblings?) couldn’t have been easy for my parents and we certainly benefitted from.
When I had kids, I understood the sacrifices and decisions my parents had made and thanked them profusely for all they did for us. Both my parents have since passed but are never far from my thoughts or heart.