The Haxtun-Fleming Herald - What can we reason but from what we know? -Alexander Pope

Son Up to Son Down


I try to keep three or four frozen pizzas on hand. I buy them at the beginning of the month and limit myself to cooking up one a week; only on those days when things are crazy or if I just don’t have it in me to make a nice meal. I always try my hardest to save pizzas for Fridays, but when life gets away from me (as it often does), pizza ends up being served even earlier in the week. Sometimes we could make it to Friday, but more and more often I end up cooking a pizza on a Tuesday.

As a kid, Wednesday was always a night that was jam packed with activities like AWANA, youth group, practice, etc. I’m sure because it was quick and easy, my mom typically threw a pizza in the oven and chopped up a salad. And even though the night was busy and we had places to be, we at least sat down together and had our pizza for 10 minutes and talked about our day. While it seemed insignificant at the time, I find myself thinking about pizza Wednesdays a lot.

My mom was a teacher for over 30 years and now that I’ve worked in education, I can feel her pain. Sometimes I come home at the end of the day I don’t have a single ounce of energy (mental or physical) to muster. I don’t ever remember this about my mom. I can’t think of a single time when I looked at her and thought “She’s over it today,” but I know there had to be those days. How could there not?

I don’t know if this is true about my mom, but when I cook a frozen pizza, I’m waving the white flag. I’ve given up for the day and I am exhausted. Later, I beat myself up over it because I didn’t put time and love into the meal. I served them frozen pizza? How could I do such a thing?

As hard as I criticize myself, I have never once felt this way about my mom. In fact, pizza Wednesday is a tradition that I still remember so fondly. (So much so, that I am writing about it all these years later.) I don’t have vivid specific memories of a fancy new dish my mom tried or the meals she put together to simmer all day in the crockpot. I’m sure they were great, but the meal that sticks out to me the most is pizza Wednesday. It was crazy, fast, hectic, but we still sat down together. As much as I’m sure my mom just wanted to go soak in a long hot bath or go to bed, she made sure to connect with us over that cardboard-backed, shrink-wrapped, cheap, cheesy goodness.

There is so much research out there about the benefits of eating dinner with family. Researchers have found that for young children, dinnertime conversation boosts vocabulary even more than being read aloud to. Older children are found to have higher achievement scores when regular family mealtime takes place. Family dinners can also reduce risky teenage behaviors like smoking, binge drinking, eating disorders, school problems and mental health concerns. Other research has found that teens who dine regularly with family have a more positive view of their future. Kids who eat dinner with parents experience less stress and have a better relationship with their families. Isn’t this astounding?

As moms, we are often too hard on ourselves. Our kids don’t care that we had mac ‘n cheese and hot dogs more than once a week. They won’t remember that we were too tired to make them a delectable pot roast and veggies. When all is said and done, the thing they’ll remember most is sitting down at the table with you and sharing their day over a frozen pizza.


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