If family dinner had stopped, the lesson to my kids (and to myself) would be that we weren't whole anymore, that something was broken forever. I honestly didn't believe that to be true. The message I did believe, and the one our continuing dinners provided was—This family is changing, we are in a transition, but we are still a family! Not only that, but we are a family that is going to get through this and come out strong and connected.
Family dinner helped all of us weather the rough days by forcing my kids and I to deal with one another, by reminding all of us every day that we were still a family. Thank goodness for that toolbox of table games. When things got uncomfortable and no one was talking, I would toss out a spelling challenge or play the Pet Peeve game.
Then I took this concept one step farther. I had the notion (hope) that eventually I could even get my ex back to the table, with me sitting at it, for a once-a-month, dare say once-every-other-week, family dinner. Crazy, you say? Maybe it was, but I was eager to try. I wanted a different divorce model for my kids. They had lots of friends who were from broken homes (okay, that is a crazy expression we have to stop using. Could we make people feel even worse than they already do?) and whose parents were in constant battle. I didn't want to put my girls through that. They were innocent bystanders and deserved better.