Probably my strongest childhood memories are of sitting around my mother’s round dining room table with my parents and two older brothers as we finished dinner and lingered to talk. I relished those moments, spent after a good dinner talking, teasing and debating together, sometimes lasting well in to the evening.
A dinner table represents for me the connectedness of family as well as the growth of my own family. I didn’t truly embrace its significance until I got my own real dining room table a couple months ago. Previously my husband and I had eaten off a small, chipped, laminate table we had purchased at a stoop sale next to my apartment in Brooklyn for $40 which, at best, seats four people. Now that we had become three, that table wasn’t going to cut it any more. When my brother-in-law asked if we wanted their grandparents’ antique table that seats 6 to 10 people we jumped at the opportunity. It came with six chairs, one of them slightly larger and with arms, which my husband and I deduced was intended for the man of the house to sit in at the head of the table. In reality, my young daughter usually holds that spot and greatly enjoys being at the head of the table where she can see what everyone else is eating, or not eating.
I love to cook, but more importantly love to eat and I live to share that joy with my family. The continuity of sitting down at that table every night for whatever meal has been pulled together is one that I hope will be remembered by my own children. Families shift and grow over the years, but the dining room table can remain the same. My husband had to drive several hours in a rental truck for this table and the top of it needs to be refinished, but our efforts will be worth it.