Slowing Dinner Down
It has been 11 years since I’ve felt safe around open flame. Now that our youngest is finally old enough to grasp the concept of danger and pain, cause and effect, I finally feel safe lighting a candle on occasion.
This Christmas, I burned some authentic evergreen candles on the fireplace mantle or in the middle of the counter, far from curious fingers. That tangy pine scent whispers “Christmas” to me like nothing else.
Now we’re mired in the gray rainy doldrums of March. Over 100 days of school completed, but too many remain before summer breaks. We long to soak up the sun outdoors, to stretch our legs, to smell the growing grass and the blooming roses, to romp barefoot in the sprinkler, to pop sweet peas off the vine into our mouths.
One night, I cast about for something new, something to enhance our family meal. Some candle-sticks caught my eyes. I was heating up leftovers for dinner, but undaunted by the unfancy aluminum pan, I set the candle sticks in the center of our table.
Like ants find sugar, the kids swarmed around me as I struck matches and lit each pillar.
Something primal inside us stirs when around flame. It draws us from the earliest ages, making any room feel warmer and more comfortable.
Muscles relax, tension melts, tempers cool.
Sometime during our meal, my son turned to me and said, “Mom, these candles make this dinner feel like a fancy restaurant.”
How did he know that candles are common in nice restaurants?
I savored how everyone lingered just a little longer that night. Our conversation was quieter, more willing to listen and not interrupt. The little guy with the sassy tongue was too enamored with the flame to talk trash. We adults left our smart-phones in the other room.
Dinner was restful.
I’m thinking of making this a weekly tradition.