Until our older child went away to college, dinner at our house was a command performance. The four of us ate together unless one of us had a compelling reason not to be there. We had some standard meals that worked for everyone. Not a week went by without Rice Krispie chicken or hamburgers (cooked outside no matter what the temperature). When the kids were in high school, sports practice may have determined the hour we ate, but never whether we ate together.
Those days seem like ancient history. Except for two years ('95-'97), the children haven't lived in the same town as we have since college, and the four of us without guests or family just never happens. Except for last Sunday. Jeremy's family had left for Maryland and Seth wasn't leaving for Brazil for a couple of days, and that left the four of us, just like old times.
I felt like I was giving a dinner party. I prepared my best marinated flank steak. Peter made polenta. We lit candles and had a glass of wine. We all commented about how long it had been and how unusual it was to be just us.
It was over way too soon.