Last weekend, we had our annual Fourth of July picnic for our families. It was so much fun, with lots of food and country fun. I love watching my nieces and nephews experience country life with horses, tadpoles, dirt, and climbing trees.
As our families gathered around the table for an after-fireworks game of Rook, I smiled to myself about the different things people were sitting on. At one table, we had dining room chairs, bar stools, and a chair from my computer desk. Nobody cared. They were too busy figuring out who had the big black bird in their hands.
It reminded me of way back when I was growing up. We had a smaller family, so any time we had company, we would run out of chairs. My mother played the piano, so we’d drag the piano bench to the kitchen table. The small rumps of two kids could squeeze on the piano bench and open up two chairs for adults.
I remember hating when I had to squeeze on the piano bench. First of all, I am left-handed and trying to eat while jammed up next to a righty was irritating. Secondly, squeezing in next to a brother who may or may not have decent table manners was disgusting.
While my oldest daughter plays the piano, we have a modern electric piano. She uses a chair in front of her keyboard. So we don’t have the option of dragging up the piano bench. However, maybe I should check out a flea market to find one. It would be a pity for my kids to grow up deprived of this essential rite of passage in the rural home.
You know, there’s just something to be said for gathering the whole family around the table. Whether you are eating a full meal or just playing cards, that sense of togetherness can’t be duplicated by fixing your plate and eating in front of the TV or playing a video game in front of a screen. You’re looking your loved ones in the eyes, teasing them about their quirks, and getting it right back from them. You’re laughing, loving, and making memories.
Even if those memories are of your little brother chewing with his mouth open!
Photo Credit: Made by Emily via FLickr