I became a member of the family not long after the couple married. When they moved into the new house they’d had built, I moved in too. As the family grew, I gained a more prominent role in the family.
I saw all the family at holidays and often on the weekends. It was usually a festive bunch with lots of laughter and sharing. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, and friends all gathered and created lots of precious memories.
The mistress of the home always included me in photos. She also shaped many loving memories that she tucked away in her mind while the people she loved most in the world were around her. There were many holidays, birthdays and anniversaries celebrated, but there were several times when beloved family members or friends passed. Even in their grief, the family would recall happier times and sought comfort just from being together.
And, again, I was a part of these times as well.
As the years passed, the family adapted to many changes and challenges—the older son going to college, then joining the military and shipping off to war; the younger son going to college, then on to medical school. The couple also faced the challenges of demanding jobs and their own health problems, as well as those of their parents.
I was a part of these times, too. Even when not all family members were present, there was still continuity in the family traditions, and again I was an important part of those times.
Time marches on, and there were weddings during which the couple welcomed daughters who became much-loved family members. These unions brought grandchildren, much to the delight of the couple. The first, a grandson, was a treasure. Their love for this new addition to the family exceeded all expectations of happiness and contentment, and, again, I was a part of this.
The first birthday was a fun celebration with cake and lots of photos. Then, just before celebrating the second birthday, along came a little brother, and the couple’s love was expanded to this new addition. Their hearts were so happy. And then, in a few years, there was a little granddaughter, another granddaughter, and another grandson!
So life was joyful when the family numbered 11! And I was a part of this.
You see, I am the dining table. I have remained unchanged except for a few knicks and scratches, but that is okay with me, because they represent the many times my family gathered around me to share a meal, but more importantly, to share life. And it has been a wonderful life filled with food, laughter, tears, and lots of love. How blessed I am to be a part of this family!
So my observations are that it doesn’t matter if it’s a holiday, if the food is home-cooked or take-out, breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or simply a few minutes over a cup of coffee or a late-night snack. Bring your family to me and share the little moments, which are the unforgettable moments that you will cherish forever.
Bonnie Brown is a retired staff member of the University of Mississippi. She most recently served as Mentoring Coordinator for the Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy.