Some of my earliest memories, throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s, are of sitting around the dinner table with my mom, dad, and sister. Dinner was at 5 o’clock prompt. Mom cooked every night. It was just something we did. Didn’t everyone? When I began working in NYC and not getting off the train until 7:15 p.m., I have a distinct memory of walking in the door at home and hearing the ding from the microwave…dinner heated for me. Did my mom actually time my steps from the car to the door? The funny thing is, it was important to me to carry on that ritual when I got married.

I was so proud of the first meal I cooked for my new husband. Day One of our marriage. He was a cop, working 4 p.m. to midnight. So there I waited, the good wife, at 1:00 in the morning (albeit having to take a 7:15 a.m. train to work that morning), our first dinner together ready…pork chops, a vegetable, and potatoes. So proud of the first meal I made. Well, needless to say we were sick the whole night and couldn’t sleep from having eaten such a heavy meal at that hour. We laugh about it to this day.

It’s still important to me to sit down to dinner with my family…now my hubby and our three kids. So with very busy schedules, what do we do…we look at our calendars and firm up times in advance that we’ll sit together for dinner, all of us. Somehow the New York Times daily newspaper heard this news, and called me asking to include us in a story about family time. The journalist wanted to join us on our next dinner “appointment.” Sure. We had plans a few days later to all meet at a restaurant in Port Jefferson. We got to the restaurant. There was the journalist, camera in hand. Along with all the other diners. “Act natural.” We could barely keep our composure as we ate; we felt like reality show stars with the photographer taking pictures of us, in a crowded eatery. So that was our fifteen minutes of fame (three minutes each?).

We still make family time despite the oldest two being away at college. In fact, today is the girls' birthdays. They're 18 and 21 today. Yep, born on the same day three years apart. So we'll be having birthday cake at 8:30 p.m. (by Skype), as previously scheduled! We'll each have a piece of cake at our respective locations. And sing happy birthday...together.