My son thought a rice cake was a cookie for the first three years of his life. It wasn't until he entered preschool that he learned he'd been duped.
I'm like any parent, doing the best for my kids and always having the best intentions. For years I embraced the family meal, dinner with no television and robust conversation. Even when the kids were little, if they couldn't or wouldn't talk, at least they were hearing their parents discuss issues of the day.
Fast forward to the teenage years. Conversations tend to be monosyllabic. Between dance, debate, and sports, it's rare we can all sit down together at the same time. You can imagine I was giddy last night when I checked the calender and saw that both kids would be home for dinner. They requested steak, easy enough. I steamed artichokes, roasted potatoes, tossed a Caesar salad and sliced the last watermelon of the season. After setting the table I called the kids to the table. Napkins in our laps. Check. Steak cooked medium rare. Check. Conversation.....
Uhhhh. Nope. Maybe everyone was tired or hormonal or grumpy, but it wasn't flowing.
Then I broke my rule and asked, "Is there anything interesting on TV tonight?" I admit I was thinking something on National Geographic or a Biography, even Jeopardy, but my daughter tuned into Comedy Central. Both kids reacted immediately, "Snap! It's Demitri Martin!"
Demitri who?
My son went on to explain that he is a super smarty party, was accepted to Yale and law school, but chose stand up comedy instead. Moments later we were all laughing hysterically. This young comedian is relevant, political, topical and, BTW, funny. During the commercials we were having lively conversations about the punch lines, the meaning behind the humor, even pathos. It turned out to be one of the best conversations we've had in months.
Have I sinned?
Nah, just keeping up with the times. I didn't send myself to the flogging room for this. Quite the opposite. I am grateful that we have a new tradition: "Comedy and Conversation."
That's right, I named it, because when you give something a name, it seems more legit. And what's more legit than an enjoyable evening with your teenagers?