“Mommy? Are we doing anything fun tonight?”
We were in the car, battling traffic, and I knew she was really asking me if we were going to McDonald’s or not.
And we weren’t. Which meant that I was about to have a major tantrum on my hands.
“Nope! No fun tonight. No fun at all. This is No Fun Tuesday!”
My quick ploy seemed to work. C cracked a smile. I repeated myself and called her out on her smile. It grew. A giggle escaped. I admonished the laugh and the one after that. Soon enough both girls were laughing hysterically. Crisis was averted.
As their laughter died down C grew serious again. I glanced at her in the rear view mirror, she was looking down at her hand and her mouth was moving. I turned down the radio and asked her to repeat what she said. She looked up and spoke up.
“You know mommy, it’s a fun night when we all have dinner together. That’s all.”
I instantly felt terrible that I had assumed that fun could only be had at McDonald’s and then I felt doubly bad that M was at home at that very moment preparing a dinner for us that wouldn’t be ready until after the kids were in bed.
We have dinner with the kids a few times a week, when we can get our acts together and everyone’s meal on the table by 6:30. Some nights we just can’t manage it and I hadn’t noticed how much the kids craved our family dinners.
I made a snap decision and called home to ask M if he’d be willing to change our plans.
“Guess what!” I called back to the kids after hanging up. “We’re going to have family dinner! Family fun dinner!”
The girls cheered and clapped. Then C looked up at me and smiled brightly, eyes shinning.
“Babe. I’m sorry. I thought that fun meant that you wanted to go to McDonald’s.”
“Well, that’s a different kind of fun.” My wise daughter explained. “When we have dinner all together it’s not just family fun dinner. It’s family love dinner.”