You guys, I am a friendly person. I am a natural chit-chatter, and I think my easy-going, fun nature is fairly obvious to most people at church. But that doesn’t seem to matter. You see my family has never been invited to anybody’s house for dinner. I have been chalking that up to my six kids. I am perfectly aware how scary it must seem to not only feed, but entertain a horde of strange children, no matter how nice their manners are. The thing is, no one invited us over when we had just one child either. Back then my reasoning was that our friends were older and had no interest in hosting a young family like us. I figured that once we were a “real family” with several kids things would be different.
At one point I blamed the lack of family dinner invitations on unfriendly cliquish Utah Mormons. But having not been invited to supper in other states as well, that must not be the case.
As a child we’d often have families over to our house for Sunday dinner (It was my job to sit by the window overlooking the driveway and yell, “they’re here!”). And I remember going to other people’s houses for dinner too (didn’t you hate the people who served powdered milk to company?). So I always assumed that it is simply the thing that grown-ups do. My husband and I have always invited people over to eat, but the invitation has never been reciprocated. All these unrequited meals are beginning to bug me. A lot.
As I said, I’m not some sort of freak with a goofy husband and a bunch of hyper kids with food allergies. In other words, it’s not us.
Or rather, society. Has inviting people over for dinner become some archaic custom along the lines of quilting bees and dancing around the Maypole? Is there no time for friendship when more important things like working late and soccer practice are on the agenda? It’s one thing to be invited en masse to the neighbor’s Fourth-of-July BBQ. Quite another to welcome another family into your house and get to know them.
Now, don’t reply and say, “Jennie, I’d invite you over if you lived nearby!” Because I don’t believe you. After all, when was the last time you had someone over to eat? See what I mean? It’s a dying tradition.
Am I alone in this? Do you invite families over for dinner? Or even dessert? (In many ways a dessert invitation is even better. It eliminates the stage fright of serving an entire meal.) Are people inviting you to dinner? Am I just being paranoid or are get-togethers another victim of our overscheduled lives?