My two year old loves to say a prayer at mealtime. Instead of the typical bow of heads before a meal, she prefers to plunge into her food, tasting the goodies scooped onto her plate, before reaching over to my seat with her buttery hands.

“Hold hands Mommy? Say a prayer?”

When I grew up, we didn’t pray before a meal unless it was a holiday, and even then it wasn’t always adhered to. Religion was confined to Sunday mornings, when we were dressed up and whisked to St. Theresa’s. My father almost always stayed home.

I eventually took communion, sipped wine from a chalice and even confessed more than a few sins. But, these actions were based on tradition, rather then my belief. It was my mother’s eyes that I searched for, not something divine.

As I grew older, church was no longer an expectation, so I stopped going. Then I had kids, a couple of them, and with each birth brought an expectation of baptism. Suddenly religion was back and I was being called upon to take an oath to guide my children down a spiritual path. Never one to lie, I decided to try my best.

My husband, in contrast, grew up in a family of devout Methodists, who pray before every meal, even in restaurants. I remember how awkward it felt the first time I held hands with his Dad in prayer over a plate of crab cakes at Ye Old Union Oyster House in Boston. I could feel the looks from other patrons.

Overtime, I got used to the perfume of sirloin and baked potatoes, mixing with blessings and thanks. And later, I even felt a strange sadness when a beautiful meal was simply ingested without so much of a pause or moment of reflection.

So, without formally deciding to, my little family started holding hands and praying during meals, even in restaurants. They are simple prayers really, giving thanks for the food and for family. And after the obligatory, Amen, our daughter always cheers.

Leave it to the youngest to remind you to take time to appreciate the little things, even if it is only a plate of food.

Labels: , edit post
0 Responses

Post a Comment