For a couple of years my family and I have been sharing dinner with a group of people every Wednesday night. We all affectionately refer to it as the Great Dinner Shuffle, or GDS. Each week you are either a host or a guest. If you are hosting, you prepare the meal. If you are a guest, you simply show up and eat. Key to this is that the host not feel like a “show” is necessary. If what you are up for making is grilled cheese or warming up canned soup, fantastic. If your bathroom is messy, that’s okay. One of the fundamental hopes of GDS is to create an enlarged sense of family, one that feels comfortable.

A paraphrased story that I love to tell is how walking away from our house one night, a little guy asked his dad, “is Cate our cousin”?

No, she’s not”.

“But she is someone special to us”.

Aha! This little guy gets it. By being intentional about spending time with one another our kids have more cousins and yes, more parents; our adults feel less alone. Community is being formed.

One of my GDS friends just told me that her toddler daughter was pretending to talk on the phone with someone. When asked who she was talking to she said, “Erinn of course”. I have to admit that my heart grew another size. My hope and prayer is that when this wee one is old enough to call me for real, she will feel safe to; that I will get to watch her grow and change and learn; that I can be engaged in her life. That is what I hope Cate will experience with her additional parents too.

It’s amazing that this is growing out of something as seemingly simple as sharing meals together. Breaking bread is a beautiful thing.