The other night we all went to one of my favorite stomping grounds in the area, Barnacle Bills. With all of us craving the best burger around, my fiance, Steve and I took our girls out for a night on the town. While my son was at football, we decided to take the night off from grilling and have a little family time over a burger and fries. When we sat down for dinner, I noticed the other people/families sitting around us. Catching up with one another over a good meal, I started to realize the value of a family dinner – or the power of a family table.

Growing up, my mom used to cook all of our dinners on Sunday nights. Since she worked at Bell Labs full time, I remember coming home from school each afternoon with cooking instructions for the night. (turning on the crock pot, boiling the pasta, reheating the chicken). Whatever the day had in store, my mom always made sure we sat down at dinner together, as a family. Since my siblings were in college by the time my mom went back to work, many of our dinners were just the three of us, my mom, my dad and I . However, it was that time of day that I felt like I mattered – what I thought mattered, what I did mattered and simply “being me” mattered. No matter how busy they were, my parents always made time to for me during that dinner time hour.

As I sat at Barnacles reflecting on this, I realized how fast our lives go by with the soccer practices, the music lessons, the PTA meeting, work, etc. That is when it hit me. We must grasp the times we have to sit down at the family table. There is something peaceful about the ritual of eating a meal as a family and having the rest of the world stop for that half hour or so.

So, as we sat down for dinner my daughter sat there giggling. Maddie, as it turns out, has an addiction to sniffing pickles. No matter where we are when pickles are present she likes to sit and take a serious sniff. I had almost forgotten this silly habit of Maddie’s as so much of our meals have been on the run lately with so many evening obligations overtaking our calenders. As I sat and watched Maddie and Lynelle giggle over pickle sniffing, I was reminded how important these moments are. Whether sniffing vegetables or talking about what’s going on at school, these moments won’t last forever and I want to inhale them (no pun intended) as much I as possible to create wonderful memories.

Even if you are going through tough times and sitting at the table seems insignificant, I can assure you, it’s not. When I went through my divorce it took almost three months for us to sit at the table again minus my ex-husband being there. Instead, we decided to have a houseful of people at the dinnertime hour to reestablish the tradition and throw in some new spice to help the kids (and myself) get through that rough patch in our lives. And we did. Thanks to my good buddy Kelly, we had some wonderful times eating pizza (who said you had to cook!) at my house during my time of transition. And, thanks to Kelly, I was able to reestablish our family tradition of eating together again. (and we had some silly late night dancing parties thrown in the mix, too!)

Take the time today to smell the pickles. Sit back, enjoy your kids, your spouse, buddy, whomever – just know that the power of the family table is one of the simplest ways to reconnect to those that love you and most of all, for you to enjoy and love them back.

Author's Bio: 

Patti's Bio - Transition Coach -

I am a forty something single mom of two awesome kids. In the past six years, I have: separated and divorced, finished a graduate degree with honor’s, started a part-time career as a writing instructor at a local college, opened up my own business as a transition coach, and as of November 2008, became newly engaged! In addition, as of June 13th, I will have finished my basic training to become part of the

Jersey Shore Collaborative Law Group. As you can see, it has been quite an eventful few years! However, I have never felt more fulfilled in my life.

How did I do it?

I can honestly tell you that I have utilized many of the same principles I learned in graduate school (I have an Master’s of Arts in Teaching) and applied them to my life. I thought, “What are my goals? Where do I want to be in one year – two years – five years? How am I going to get there?” (Think of this as being your own tutor!)

Like a teacher does with her class, I wrote out my lesson plans on how to achieve those goals. Hour-by-hour, day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, slowly but surely, I kept my eye on those goals and made sure that I kept forging ahead, even on the days I barely could get out of bed. (On those days, I gave myself a gold star for even making myself a pot of coffee or going to the dry cleaners!)

This is a true testimony on how you can use a crisis to create a new path for your future. That is what I did. I took all the pain and suffering I had during my divorce, turned it around into a positive learning experience.

What is the magic formula that makes my business thrive?

I knew that knowledge was power and the better educated I was as to what I could expect from the divorce process, the better. I wanted to be one step ahead of the game when meeting with the professionals and my goal was to be the ideal client. I wanted to get the most for my money when meeting with my lawyers and other professionals for many reasons – I wanted to save money, not waste my time talking about emotional issues during our meetings and I wanted to get it over with as smoothly (and quickly) and possible.

In the meantime, I read and studied books on goal-setting and laws of attraction as well as countless books on divorce (refer to recommended book list) and interviewed many legal professionals.

While I was studying and researching the various aspects of divorce and how to do it right, so to speak, I would reward myself with reading books on how to achieve your dreams! As a result, Patricia Phelan Clapp M.A. LLC, the Transition Coach, was created!

You can do two things at once during times of crisis – you can work on YOU and go through the divorce process as skilled and knowledgeable as possible!

All you need to do is commit to wanting to move forward in a positive direction.

What will we do out your coaching sessions?

* We will find the necessary resources for you and clarify the various roles of the lawyer and other professionals as part of the legal process. In doing this, we will make it easier for those professionals to help you by implementing their legal, financial and psychological areas of expertise.

* We will focus on creating a positive client-based relationship that will give you the ability to compartmentalize the divorce process separate from your emotions.

* I will help you achieve your goals and find a balance between divorce and moving on with your life.

* A step-by-step plan will be devised on how to manage the legal and financial aspects of your divorce.

* In addition, personal goals will be set and a plan will be developed on how to achieve these goals.

* By creating a road map for you to follow during your divorce, we can concentrate on empowering you with the peace, self-respect and hope that may have been lost along the way.

Piff – Tomaro Professional Building

1704 Maxwell Drive

Suite 302

Wall, New Jersey 07719

(732) 865-5377

“Helping you find the resources you need to stay focused and balanced during times of transition.”