Our schedule is starting to pick up and we will have a night or two each week when the older kids and Dad are gone. Usually because the kids have an activity and it's closer for Dad to go straight to their location instead of coming home after work. I think this will happen more and more as our children get jobs, go to college, etc. Tonight it was the four youngest children and mom.
I don't like it.
My natural instinct is not to cook just for the littles. They don't eat much. We could simply have a sandwich or cereal. But is that how I want them to remember family meals? Do I want them to feel that they are not important enough to cook for? Some nights may end up that way, but I really want to avoid that non-dinner trap. I want to cook real food, set the table and have pleasant conversation with the younger kids just as if we were all here.
The youngers enjoy helping prepare food and they even enjoy clean up. It's still pretty novel to them. :) Besides, if there is real food and the table is set, it won't look so empty.