A close friend of ours that lived in the neighborhood had passed away recently, and we had spent the entire week in crisis mode spending time with the family and other neighbors in support of each other. As most families, we have a daily routine. Dinner at 6:00, homework at 7:00, our favorite shows of the evening after that. That routine had been completely disrupted and my wife and I felt like our children had suffered from lack of attention from us.
On my way home from work , I decided it was time that we have some “family therapy.” I stopped at the grocery store and picked up something I knew everyone would enjoy.
As I was making dinner, I told the kids that they needed to get their homework done immediately after dinner, so that we could catch up on some of our favorite shows that were recorded on our DVR.
When the books were packed away, and pajamas were worn by all, we all gathered in the living room. I said that I was going to have a snack, and asked if anyone else wanted one. My family looked at me with that “what do you have?” kind of look. I calmly and slowly retrieved four ice cream desert dishes from our cupboard. I then opened the freezer and pulled out a carton of cookies and cream ice cream, set it on the counter, and asked if anybody else wanted some.
The kids jumped off the couch, throwing their hands in the air screaming, “ME, ME, MEEEEE!” Vonnie giggled and copied their enthusiasm.
I dished up the ice cream, and put mine and Tori’s in the microwave for 10 seconds to melt them ever so slightly, just the way we like it. All four of us sat on the couch and ate our ice cream with complete disregard for our “no food in the living room” rule.
After the ice cream was gone, we had what we call a “family snuggle” and watched TV for a couple of hours. Talking, laughing, and spending time together.
This wasn’t the kind of therapy that you get from a counselor, or one that we had to pay for by the hour. We did all sit on a couch, but it was the kind of therapy that came from a carton, and it only cost us $3.48.
It was just the kind of family therapy that we needed.