dinner in front of tv

by Beth Ann Morgan

Have you ever gone through a period of time with an empty seat at the table? If the vacancy continues indefinitely, the pain of a loved one’s absence can turn mealtime into a dreaded affair.

A little switcheroo might be the best thing on the menu.

While Abigail spent many weeks in the hospital over the course of her first 18 months of life, our family developed a coverage system so that either Chris or I would be with Abigail all of the time. The other parent stayed local with the other two.

We hated it. Every minute of it. The not-having-everyone-together in the same physical location while a Morgan literally teetered on the brink of death day after day after day was horrible.

So, a few weeks into all of this, I realized I dreaded coming home on the weekends. I was thrilled to see Hannah and John, of course, but I mentally shut down at suppertime. Unless a kind soul had delivered a meal on Friday night, I served my kids chicken nuggets, corn, and applesauce. For weeks.

What kind of pediatric dietitian does that?

One that’s hurting. My husband’s empty spot at the table served as a constant reminder of Abby’s fragile state, and I had a very hard time eating at all during those days. So did my kids.

Guess what we did? A little switcheroo. We sometimes ate at the coffee table or the dining room table so that the loss wasn’t as obvious. I’m not a huge fan of eating in front of the TV, but some days, assembling a chicken nugget platter and popping in a DVD was all I could muster.

Sometimes you do what you’ve got to do. And “changing up” your table time might make a big, much-needed difference. For everbody.


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