At some point this summer, after our second daughter Ruby was born and we found ourselves around the house a bit more, we discovered the entire collection of The Cosby Show available for our viewing pleasure on Netflix (it has since moved to Hulu, should you find yourself seeking it out). Imagine our delight! We started watching episodes as little breaks in the day which typically coincided with dinner. Somehow, because it was The Cosby Show, watching t.v. during dinner seemed justifiable. Inevitably after an episode (or 3), John would start walking around the house ac-cen-tu-a-ting e-ver-y word, contorting his face, and then go make himself a hoagie. I responded to everything with a fast, sharp, quick-witted speech where my finger would shake and my head would bob. Jemma ran around singing “Baaaaybaaaay…baaaybaaay….won’t you please come home?” and referring to herself as Mrs. Griswald (both references from two of the most memorable episodes in Cosby history). In these moments, it also went without saying, to all of us involved, that in a few years, Ruby would be as precocious and adorable as Olivia during her early days on the show…but nothing like the actress who later starred in The Cheetah Girls (I’ve never actually seen this show, but don’t really feel I have to in order to make such an assessment). Right before dinner was ready, someone would start to chant, “Cosbys, Cosbys, Cosbys!” and we’d all start to smile and settle in to watch an episode (or 4). Unfortunately, watching t.v. during dinner is a slippery slope and quite the challenge for a 3 year old. Eat and watch? Take bites and look up at a screen? Impossible! And I’m sure you good moms are going, “um, duh, idiot parent, this is why we don’t watch t.v. during meals.” It’s just that in the moment, it seems so much easier. It seems like it’s going to be a break. Particularly if John is gone and I’ve been alone with the kids all day, I just want a minute without questions, demands, and the whining. But instead it turns into, “Jemma, take a bite. Jemma, take a bite. JEMMA, take a bite. Jemma, TAKE a bite. Jemma, I’m pausing the show until you take a bite.” Folks, I’m not proud of myself that this is occurring in my home. One present deterrent from eating at the table are the piles of Christmas cards and real estate magnets covering our dining room table in organized chaos that only we understand (story of my life). So, it leads us to the coffee table, which inevitably leads us to look to the thing that is staring us in the face. And that is why one of my goals is to take back dinner. For as much as I am able, I’m going to insist that all of my family is present for dinner each evening. What’s more, we will give thanks that we are blessed to have food readily and conveniently available to us. And that food in front of us will be served on a plate at our dining room table.