Monday, May 26, 2014


I hate spoilers. I want to know that you got me a birthday present, but I don’t want to know what it is. I don’t want to know what happens on a TV show I watch and I always think the anticipation is part of the fun.

I confess that I do read the last page of books (unless they’re mysteries) because I want to make sure the ending is satisfying before I read the book, and I check the dessert menu prior to ordering my meal so that I know whether or not to leave enough room.

But everything else, don’t tell me.

I’m really good at keeping secrets too. But I completely screwed up this week. SPOILER ALERT!!! My daughter watches Dancing With the Stars, but went to bed before the finale. I really wanted to know who won, so I watched the last five minutes to see. In the morning, she asked me if I knew who won and I said I did. It was no big deal; I’ve known who won each episode before she has, and I’ve waited for her to find out before discussing it with her. But this time, since it was the finale, we were both worried someone at school would spoil the ending, so I helped her plan how to avoid spoilers.

When she came home, she told me it worked and that she was excited to watch it after her homework was done. We were in the car and she was discussing the show and I was keeping my mouth shut. Then, she asked a question. Her question was what would happen next season. Apparently, the previous winners, who have all been singers, have appeared on subsequent seasons singing a song. She asked the question because she knew none of the finalists were singers. Without even thinking, I said, “Well, maybe she can do an ice dance.”

And just like that, I spoiled it for her. I felt a thousand times worse than she did. She actually thought it was funny, and even more so when she saw how upset I was. I couldn’t believe I’d done it!

But then she said something that put a completely different spin on things. She said, “I get to tell this story at dinner.” She was more excited about sharing the story than she was disappointed that she’d had the ending spoiled for her.

With four people in our family who have busy and various schedules, family dinners are a challenge. But my husband and I have made having dinner together a priority, and we try to sit down altogether at least four or five times a week. Family dinners are filled with conversation—not always the most appropriate conversations—but conversation, nonetheless. There are no devices at the table, unless they enhance what we are discussing. We don’t answer the phone—if it’s important, the caller will leave a message. It is our time to be together as a family and we don’t let anything interfere with it, if we can help it.

Both of our girls are huge talkers, and family dinners often become a chance to see who has more to say. It’s in this vein that my daughter jumped at the chance to have a story to tell.

Although I felt really badly about spoiling the ending, it made me happy to realize that she likes these dinners that I’ve tried so hard to establish. Even if it means I have to listen to stories multiple times, or hear for the bagillionth time about camp, or listen to them argue over who gets to talk first, I’m glad that getting that chance to be together is important to her.

Although next time I provide fodder for the dinner table, I hope it won’t be about how I spoiled the ending. Sigh.

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