My mother has, for the last few years, taken time to have a "date night" with my older three children. The kids have looked forward to this time, over and over. They get to be alone with their grandparents, be treated specially, and spoiled just a bit too. During these dates my mother has arranged everything from a dinner out at a restaurant, to a quiet movie night at her home. She always prepares a special meal of my children's favorite things, and often dresses her table up to be quite eye pleasing as well. The children have gotten to work through a series of wholesome movies with good old fashioned lessons in them. This influence is wonderful for my children, and sometimes has been a much needed break for mom too.
Tonight was just such a night. We arrived at grandma's and she had the table completely set for a Valentine's dinner with her grandchildren. What is so so neat about this is just a few nights ago I was making a "Taco Tuesday" at our house and the kids wanted to make the table "beautiful like grandma's." I have to admit that during this season of life, convenience and practicality are far outweighing beauty. What I mean by that is that my mother has set the standard high, as her mother before her. She can put out a table spread that would put Martha Stewart to shame, complete with beautiful antique goblets and cherished goodies at each place setting. At this time in life I do not have matching glassware, as it too often gets broken, and the time it takes to put out a beautiful spread often seems too daunting as I can only think of the clean up involved afterwards.
However, at this time in life my children are learning this skill from the best teacher they could have, and she is doing an excellent job. So the taco Tuesday went from boring and mundane to having the appearance of one of the best Mexican Restaurants around, all thanks to the table dressings that my children fashioned, and all from the influence of their grandmother. I hope one day to have the time and energy to emulate my mother's skill of hospitality, she has a gift in that department. For now, we more often than not, utilize the practical and sometimes even forgo the serving ware for skillets just to avoid another dirtied dish, but my children are learning well.
Here is a photo I snuck of grandma's Valentine's spread. The food wasn't even out yet, and I assure you that it was plated to look eye pleasing and palette tempting too. The children always feel so grown up because grandma trusts them with the fine glassware, and note that each plate even has a special "Valentine" gift awaiting each of my children.