First one to the table gets a clean fork

I call, Time to eat.

No one comes.

[Back story] There’s a pile of dishes in the sink. No clean silverware whatsoever. Last night for ice cream, the kids had to dive into dirty dishes to find a spoon, and — heaven forbid — wash their own. Amidst groans and grumbles.
I call again, Time to eat!

Still nothing.

Cooking for kids is thankless work and I feel like a short order cook.

I’m annoyed when “it’s ready” and no one arrives. This isn’t the first time.

I try once more, Time to eat!

Holding onto the “eeeaaattt” with an upward tilt and irritation they know by heart.

Yelling across two rooms, I add:

“First one to the table gets a clean fork,”

Now they come running. It becomes a race. I hear the competitive trampling of feet scoot through the living room.

My two oldest slide through the threshold onto the kitchen linoleum.

While the youngest was hip checked and flung onto the couch.

She wines, “Not fair.”

Then an argument between the two oldest ensues:

“I’m first.”
“No, I was first.”

I interrupt, “You’re both first. Sit down, my little stinks.”

Everyone sits.

I feel satisfied and relieved. Dinner is still hot. Everyone is finally at the table.

A chorus of “yays” breakout.

I’ve prepared their favorite: pesto pasta with chicken and mushrooms.

They start passing around the Romano.

I’m happy. Because that’s all I want. For my kids to be at the table together. Eating the dinner that I made. Talking about the highs and lows from the day.

So I finish cleaning dirty forks. 🙃

Everything is good when we’re all together at the table for dinner. ❤

These are days to remember.