It's 5:30. I'm scurrying to round up dinner for the six of us. My son Jordan is due back from his part-time job at 7:30, and will need to hustle to make it to his hockey game one hour later. I hope that between his arrival and the game, we will have a chance to sit and eat together.

My mother, who has been residing with us for almost a year now, is focusing on helping me in the kitchen; my other children as well as my husband are busy with their respective tasks. Our plan: to eat at around 7 pm and then drive to the arena to root for Jordan.

My son bolts in like a hurricaneAt 6:57 the door flies open and my son bolts in like a hurricane, announcing that that his game is actually at seven while he hastily throws his uniform and hockey equipment into the car…"I hope you can come anyway," he shouts hopefully as I hear the door close.

I'm adding the finishing touches to one of the side dishes, roasted baby potatoes… Suddenly I think back to a family dinner years ago.

It's 1987, and at this point in time we have 3 children and are anticipating my husband's arrival home so that we can eat as a family (over the years, he rarely made it home at normal supper hours, and this evening is no exception).

He finally walks in the door. Everyone's tired, but we all sit down to dinner. Our four year old, Adam, has heavy eyelids, his head wobbles a bit and finally plops into his plate. I gently wake him; he smiles, looking at me sweetly with those big brown eyes like only a content child can, and within minutes of his "catnap" he's enjoying the rest of his meal, beaming happily, surrounded by his siblings and admiring parents.

I then have another flashback. Circa 1992. I have recently given birth to our fourth addition, a beautiful baby girl, Jessica. Life is hectic and tiring , but delicious - rich with the scents, sounds and textures of a busy, young growing family…

"You mean you eat supper with your children?" she asks incredulously. Her question hits me like a bolt of lightening. She's dead serious, blinking her large blue eyes in astonishment. "I feed my kids before my husband comes home," she announces proudly, loudly emphasizing the word before and punctuating it visually with raised eyebrows, "so I get it over with and we can enjoy a nice quiet dinner together, just the two of us."

She looks happy and perhaps doesn't need my sympathy"Get it over with" keeps running through my mind as I look at this young mother. She is very pretty, well coifed, impeccably manicured and drives an insanely expensive car. She looks happy and perhaps doesn't need my sympathy. Nevertheless, I instantly feel sorry for her, smiling to myself and realizing how fortunate I am to share dinner with my entire family, noise and all.

Suddenly I'm thinking back to the time when Jordan was 15 years old. He has never played hockey before and unexpectedly decides that this sport is his passion. He wants to join a team regardless of the fact that he doesn't even know how to skate. He's determined, though.

I've never been a "hockey mom" until now. Reluctantly and with some trepidation, I find myself at the rink with my husband. Pretty soon I'm cheering wildly and shouting like a madwoman.

My son hobbles onto the rink, his 5 foot 10 inch hulk of a frame clumsily taking little baby steps. I wince when one mother rolls her eyes and sneers to the woman beside her, "Who is that kid out there? What's he doing here? Why can't he skate?"

He perseveres and practices at the local rink whenever he has a chance. He's single-minded about playing hockey and succeeding. That year his team wins three banners, one of them for team spirit. I'll never forget the look on those kids faces when they skate proudly around the rink.

After each game, we'd all go home and enjoy a cozy family dinner, sometimes ending up downstairs afterwards on our old tattered couch lovingly placed next to our even more ancient "family" mattress, creating one huge "entertainment center". We'd snuggle up together and play a game. Those were some of the best times.

So, coming back from memory lane, I realize that we have two choices. We can eat dinner now, as it is ready, which would mean eating without Jordan, or we can go to the game. We make an executive decision to turn off the stove, shove the food aside and drive to Jordan's game.

We've all successfully managed to gather for dinnerWhen the game is finished and we finally return home, it is 8:25. So, what else is new, we're eating late again. But once again, as hard as it can be to pull off, we've all successfully managed to gather for dinner. My mother pushes back her chair, sighs and smiles at me as she gives her usual "Ah, this is wonderful" feedback. Somehow I don't think she is only talking about the food. Jordan happily reviews the highlights of his game. Tonight, as we sit together, laughing about anything and everything, savoring the meal and reviewing the day's events, I gaze at my children as they blissfully delight in each morsel and each other.

"These roasted potatoes are delicious Mom!" my son says between enormous mouthfuls." Thanks," I reply, "They're made with oregano and a lot of thyme."