Our family is the proud owner of a new kitchen table. Big deal right? Well, for me it’s a dream that was a long time in the making.

I have a confession to make. My family and I rarely share meals at a kitchen or dining room table. It has bummed me out in the past, and I have tried to rectify the bad habit we have of scattering once the food is dished out.

Part of the problem was my old table was too small. I purchased it back in 1994 at a Caldor in Paramus, NJ. Caldor was the Jersey equivalent of a Walmart back in the 80’s so you know the table didn’t cost much.

Well, that small, round, butcher block table has been in my home(s) for the past 18 years, and we, as a family, had outgrown it.

Eating at it was tough. There was only room for our 4 plates and perhaps the salt & pepper shakers. All the rest of the food had to be kept in the kitchen and you made trips back and forth if you wanted more peas or needed a refill on your drink.

But that wasn’t the only problem. We would argue over what to watch on the TV – the kids want some show on Teen Nick, hubby wants sports or news. If one side wins, the other side pouts. If the tv goes off, everyone is pissed and I am left trying to smooth ruffled feathers.

So over time, we had become accustomed to grabbing our plate and heading to our own place where we could watch what we want or surf the web while we ate.

Growing up we almost never did that. Dinner was spent sitting around our large, Formica covered kitchen table where the 6 Buceks would sup on that night’s fare. We would talk or listen to the evening news, but you sat there until your food was gone.

I can recall many a night where I sat alone in a dark kitchen lit only by the stove light in front of a piece of very fatty meat. Boy, do my kids have it good.

In any case, I’ve been on the lookout for a larger table for years. When I’d see one I liked, there was always a problem. It was too expensive, or we were in hubby’s car which is too small for such a large purchase.

Last week the stars finally lined up. I found an affordable table that was just the right size for our tiny little house. Big enough to fit the four of us comfortably, but it doesn’t make our small dining area seem cramped.

Last night, we ate as a family, with the TV off and just talked about our day. It was nice. Really nice.

I am not going to fool myself into thinking that we will eat together every single night from now on just because we have this great new table. Old habits are hard to break.

Take tonight – I know we are just getting pizza for dinner and I have a feeling once the slices are slid onto paper plates my family will wander off to their favorite spot to chow down.

But, I plan on us having at least 2 family dinners a week at that table. And then maybe 3 or 4. After time, we may wind up looking like a semi-normal family.