STEP INSIDE: Join Us for Dinner at My Place

Grab a Seat and Join us at the Table, 7:30 PM on any ordinary weekly night.

“Why is there the Death Penalty?” (Teresa, 13)
“Mom, do you know I really love Ethan?” (Lucia, 4)
“What do Lutherans believe in?” (Isacco, 11)
“I have a science test tomorrow, can you help me study?” (Giuseppe, 12)
“I want to see grandma, when are we going to Italy?!” (Fabio, 7)
These are the questions my kids brought up last night during our dinner together. As many of you know (from my Instagram reels 😊), we have dinner together every evening. Yes, I know, it sounds absurd and impossible, especially considering we have 5 kids plus our friends or theirs…

Technical note: By our family’s choice, our kids participate in sports, but we limit it to one per season (scroll down for an interesting post about sports and family dinner). This allows us not to constantly chase after practices every evening and, above all, it allows us to live the weekends with a good balance between sports (which is great for all of us) and free time to rest, read, see friends, or travel!

A lot of you asked me WHY do we have dinner together every night?
The first reason is that we were raised this way by our parents and grandparents. Both my husband and I were born and raised in Italy in two wonderful families, not perfect, but where the daily mealtime was and still is (at my parents’ house, lunch is at 12:30 pm sharp, my father takes a break from work and if you arrive late, he gets grumpy- love you dad!) the point where everyone gathers around the table. The same goes for my in-laws, a little less strict on timing :))

When we got married, we continued and embraced this habit. We couldn’t see each other for lunch because we were caught up in our jobs, me in the hospital and my husband in the office, but every evening, even with very young children, we set the table. A friend of mine taught me that in Rome, they say that when you invite friends to dinner, all you need to do is put the tablecloth down, everything else follows! I think it’s a wonderful idea. You know how many dinners with 3 under 3 we’ve had where we just set the table and little else? Like jugglers with baby food jars, overturned glasses, greasy pans on pajamas, and tantrums in front of broccoli, you shouldn’t imagine idyllic dinners, quite the opposite! But the table was set. And we were around it.

When we came to America, I realized that habits were completely different. Another world! The beautiful and important thing here to share, I think, is that we continued to eat together in the evenings (of course, sometimes while the pasta is cooking, I go pick up a child from basketball – or while cleaning up, my husband takes someone else to tumbling) because we believe there is an immeasurable value only quantifiable by the measure of the heart in preparing dinner and eat together as a family. It is part of us. It’s our skin, our soul, our being.

Our dinner was something like this: the constant repetition of the moody teenager who wants to switch families, no overturned glasses (miracle), the toddler who ate 1 (yes, just one) ravioli filled with greens and ICE CREAM while reading 3 books, which constantly fell into the plate. Then we ended up talking about Martin Luther while washing the dishes and the little ones were throwing toys into the sink, and the moody teen escaped as soon as we finished eating. Conversation about death penalty TBC…

I am convinced that these kind of conversations would be nearly impossible without that moment when, without devices or other very much interesting distractions, we take the time to be together. To serve, listen to each other, educate, discuss, and therefore love those who are with us. This is dinner together in our family.

What a beautiful adventure family life is, let’s give it the space it deserves!!!

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