The Gathering

I have said it before and I will say it again, I hate it when my kids fight. It is inevitable with three girls.  However, yesterday we sat down at our 100-year-old dining room table and I saw something beautiful.

My middle daughter was sharing with us some of her latest girl drama from school.  My older daughter listened intensely.  I saw a little mama bear in her come out wanting to protect her little sister’s heart.  With all the love and care in the world, my older daughter gave her younger sister some great advice.   In the end she said this, “I promise Grace, it will get better.  High school is much easier with relationships.”

Last night, my family sat at our dinner table for almost two hours, enjoying each other. Isabel told us about her science class and how her teacher brought in one of those spinny things that you press down on and music comes out.  Instantly, my Grace broke into a beat box (that is the chic drummer in her coming to the surface), while my husband and I dealt with the shock of our age.  “That is called a record player.” Stephen said.

We had a lively conversation; there was lots of laughing. My husband managed to squeeze in a few words.  “If women only said what was needed to be said, there would be a lot less confusion.”  We all broke out in laughter.

As the evening progressed, I sat in amazement at how my girls interacted.  “Isabel, have I told you how proud I am of you?” said her big sister, Julia.  “Shoes for Kids is cool.”  Isabel lit up at her big sister’s affirmation.

Each girl took turns and shared some of their struggles and   stresses going on, but then the laughter took over the evening.

Grace brought the house down with her wit and charm.  She managed to send Isabel to the floor with laughter and Julia just about lost a mouth full of food.  Stephen had to take a moment to compose himself and I howled.  Grace has this ability to seize a moment with humor.  I don’t always think she realizes how funny she is.

At the end of dinner, the girls were in great moods.   They did not even argue about doing dishes or clearing the table.

We have spent many years now gathering around this table. Even when the girls were little, we would attempt to sit at the table.  I remember having to clean up the floor, and the spills and our table experience was all about managing toddlers and babies.  As the girls got older, we would light candles and make the table look very pretty and talk about manners.  We would pretend to be eating with the Queen. The girls would get all dressed up and we would make a big fuss about eating at the table. The girls would take turns decorating the table and often this allowed some very interesting centerpieces.

Now, we gather around this same table and we talk, we eat and we laugh, we cry and occasionally we fight. We still light candles, we get the serving dishes out, and we put effort into making the table look nice. We can’t do this every night, but we work hard to do this at least four times a week. Sometimes the travel gets in the way, and sometimes our kids have activities that interfere so we have to work hard to protect this time together. When we do gather, it becomes the highlight of my day, and I am convinced something spiritual takes place.

8 Comments on “The Gathering

  1. Wonderful post Patricia… makes me all teary… and hopeful!

  2. Hi Rhonda,
    He is going to some place near Huron I believe. As far as the pheasants, I have heard they make a nice soup so I am still in search of a recipe. The birds look so ugly in my freezer though I am afraid my husband is going to have to handle them for me.
    Thanks for commenting.

  3. I love reading about your family and am always hoping to apply some of that wisdom to my own. Out of curiosity I have to ask where in South Dakota your husband is hunting, because this is where I live and I am always amazed at where our hunters come from. As far as pheasant recipes around here alot of people slow cook it with cream soup.

  4. I love the dinner table moments with my siblings where we’re all having fun and actually getting along. Most of us are out of the house now and I think we love each other more now that we don’t live on top of each other LOL

  5. This made me realize how much I miss my sisters. I’m the youngest of three, and both of my sisters are at college.
    My family would routinely sit around the table and laugh until we cried. And I miss that.

    I think I’m going to call both my sisters tomorrow! 🙂

  6. Thanks Amanda! I am already excited to see you again in December, and your sis!

  7. Oh I just loved reading this post. Eating around the table is the most rewarding and memory making time when your kids are little. When they are big too.
    We had an old ‘dining room’ table I truly loved with its double pedestal legs and birds eye maple look. The chairs were ‘feeble’ and fragile so we put the table in the garage and brought in a new ‘oak’ one. The chairs are sturdy and stable. But the personality of the table is not right. I miss the birds eye maple one.
    Eating and sitting around something special is how memories are made. I hope you continue this tradition you will be glad you did. Our children are 32-35. Each of them have three children and when we all get together it is like thanksgiving with their ‘families. So fun.
    Thank you for the reminder that dinner time does not have to be serious.

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Sandra Jones Counseling

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