Some of my favorite memories occurred over the dinner table

by Nick Norris

National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day is Wednesday, October 16th, and families all over will be celebrating.

Once a certain age is reached, doing anything with your parents isn’t considered all too cool. Most kids would probably rather spend their time playing video games with friends or attempting to impress their school-yard crushes.

In time, though, friendships fade away as young adults start their own busy lives, and struggle to find time to see anyone or anything other than coworkers and computer screens.

This is the timeframe in which many grown sons and daughters realize they truly miss their parents. Still, it can be difficult to find time to visit. National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day serves as a method and reminder to see the ones who raised you and treat them to a much-appreciated meal.

I had the pleasure of taking my parents to one of our favorite restaurants in town, Landry’s Seafood House. We chowed down on delicious New Orleans barbecue shrimp and blackened mahi-mahi sandwiches. Admittedly, I meet my parents often for lunch, so this was not out of the ordinary. Still, this day served as a welcome reminder to show my appreciation for my family.

I was blessed to be born into a close-knit family, one that mostly all resides on a single dead-end drive in a nowhere town. As a kid, my neighbors were my cousins, so birthdays and Christmases were always a blast. Days were spent jumping on a trampoline, riding bikes and building forts in the woods.

When the sun would finally set on a day full of grass stains and knee scrapes, we would scamper into Nana’s house, chug a cold glass of Kool-Aid and scarf down spaghetti or hot dogs or whatever my mom and aunts had prepared that evening.

Back then, we’d eat as fast as we could just to get back to catching lightning bugs in the yard, but our parents would make us take our time.

“Slow down or you’re going to choke!” Mom would always yell.

“Yeah, then I’m gonna laugh!” my Uncle Jamie would joke from the living room, probably watching a football game with my dad and the rest of the men crowded around the coffee table.

They would be at the dinner table with us had there ever been any room, but there were always way too many of us packed in that house. We never minded it, though. We were just happy being together.

Those days, the family dinner table was an obstacle in the way of our childhood adventures. Now, as an adult, getting the family together is rarer and much more appreciated. Some of my most cherished memories took place around that round wooden table.

When I finally joined my mom and dad at the restaurant today, they were smiling. They didn’t mind I was a tad late, they were just happy I asked them to meet. We talked about our weeks, laughed about cheating on our diets for the umpteenth time this month and simply enjoyed each other’s company.

If you also share a healthy relationship with your parents, find some time today to see them. If you can’t, try to call. They miss you, and you likely miss them too.

The days of trampoline-jumping and fort-building may be behind you, but that doesn’t mean those memorable chats and hardy laughs shared over a nice warm meal must stop just yet.