KATE: Whatever happened to evenings?

Kate Hunter


At our house we have night and day but we rarely have evenings.

I don’t know when this happened. I swore it never would. My kids are restricted to one sport a term and I’m not involved in local politics, my book club meets once every three months  and we live in Brisbane, not the arctic circle, so when did this endless daytime happen?

The sun goes down, sure, but the pace of life continues. Sometimes it ramps up.

When I was growing up, my Dad worked long hours and Mum raised four kids and had a part time job as a pathology nurse. Even so, I remember their nights being evenings.

We kids would often eat early – Dad mostly arrived home after 7.30, but when he did, he and Mum would sit at the table, eat dinner, drink wine and then either watch TV or read. EVERY NIGHT. Sometimes a child would bring them cups of tea.

I remember being bored – we had just the one TV and Mum and Dad watched 4 Corners or the Onedin Line or something equally unappealing to an eleven year old and NO WAY would we have asked to watch Sons and Daughters.

Now I dream of being bored. I dream of eating dinner and drinking wine every night. I dream of WATCHING FOUR CORNERS. What have I become?

I fantasise about enjoying dinner without thinking, ‘I should have made cauliflower rice instead of pasta – we eat way too many refined carbs.’

It would be nice to have a drink each night without worrying about my bloated liver or my dwindling brain cell count.

“How good would it be to tell the kids to go away and do something without having to specify, ‘Not the iPad.’

How good would it be to tell the kids to go away and do something without having to specify, ‘Not the iPad, the Wii or Disney Channel.’

Just once or twice a week, I’d like an evening that didn’t involve intense preparations for the next day. Catching up on work I failed to do, looking for lost PE shorts, signing off the homework, sending texts regarding Saturday sport pick up and drop off arrangements, working out why the Internet is so slow.

I remember an ad, from years ago for the Australian Meat and Livestock Corporation, that showed a family with their diaries out ( Mum had a Filofax – that shows you the vintage of the ad) trying to work out a night when they could all eat dinner together.

I would have been in my late teens when it was made, but I remember thinking, ‘How ridiculous. That will never happen if I have kids.’

But it has, and I don’t know how, or what to do about it. No one in our family ever eats alone, and we eat at the table, but it’s invariably in shifts and it’s rarely relaxed. There is always somewhere to be or something to do in that time we call, ‘after dinner.’

The time that used to be called, ‘evening.’

Do you have nights or evenings at your place?

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