When my youngest was just a toddler, we visited a home where the mother displayed the weekly dinner menu on a big chalkboard in her kitchen. I wasn’t even a member of this family, and I was excited about their dinner for the week. I gazed up in wonder as I thought about each evening’s joy: broccoli cheddar soup, enchiladas, grilled chicken, pasta, beef casserole. . .
In my memory, it was glorious. To think of everyone coming home for dinner in anticipation made me so happy. It structured the week around seven points of light: Dinner! Dinner is coming! Every night, no matter what you’ve been through, we’ll have dinner!
One day, I thought. One day, I would have my own table to set with children who could eat more than pureed carrots and mashed potatoes. One day, I would be this organized, this thoughtful, this prepared. I would display my dinner menu and feel this happy once again.
Eight years later, here I am with a ten year old and a thirteen year old who absolutely love it when I post the weekly dinner menu. It’s nothing fancy; it’s an old dry-erase board with a green marker. But they love it. It makes them happy to know.
Something about the weekly dinner menu builds security and love and happiness into the week. It’s such a simple thing. They run to look at what’s coming. They declare that Tuesday will be the best day of the week for them. Saturday, in case you’re wondering, is always a surprise. Even to me.