Back in the ’50’s, June Cleaver was the model mom. Her beautiful dresses, pearls and neatly coiffed hair, immaculate house, and calm demeanor were far from reality in my life. Although fictional, she was the mom we all wanted.
When we established our multi-family household five years ago, I was hoping to channel June. The boys were nine and seven at the time. Like June, I would be ready to greet them after school with a healthy snack. Their eagerness to share their day with me would be touching . They would complete their homework as I prepared dinner so that when ED arrived home, we could all enjoy a pleasant meal and family time.
NOT! The reality was much messier. Mowgli and his friend tore into the house minus shirt and shoes which were scattered across the yard, ready to eat anything in sight. He frequently agreed to a fruit smoothie but there was no chance that he would do his homework. Blue Boy grabbed a snack and disappeared. Instructions to unload backpacks and address homework were protested unpleasantly.
When it became apparent that I was not June and the boys were not Wally and the Beav, we tested another plan which was for me to prepare dinner while ED assisted with homework. Unfortunately, by dinner time, Mowgli the food furnace had already consumed other snacks, diminishing his appetite for dinner, and Blue Boy looked with distaste on the choices. Everyone was tired and most were whiny. Dinner time was not pleasant.
Jump forward to the present: The boys are old enough to get themselves home and settled after school, although Mowgli’s shirt and shoes are still dispersed across the yard. Both boys tend toward a mix of healthy and unhealthy snacks but are often not hungry at dinner time. For the most part, the boys complete their homework on their own.
Occasionally a meal is today’s version of Norman Rockwell family dinner with people enjoying the food and conversation. That is the Blue Bloods version. When it happens, we marvel at it.